Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Culture Show

Writing in the Critics' Choice section of the Sunday Times 'Culture' magazine, Victoria Segal/Sarah Dempster comment as follows:

Suffering from low viewing figures and accusations of 'dumbing down' from the kind of people who cannot help finding the presenter Lauren Laverne a bit too young and female to be taken seriously as an arts commentator, The Culture Show bravely forges on and plays to its considerable strengths. This week's edition includes...An appealing line-up for viewers who are not sniffy about anything created after 1897.

Ooh, looks like someone's touched a raw nerve there! Perhaps, just perhaps, people criticise Lauren Laverne because she's shallow, not because of her age or sex. And low viewing figures for a television arts show - surely not! Those interested in the arts should count themselves lucky that they get a weekly programme at teatime on a Saturday; a similar minority interest, such as astronomy, receives a monthly programme, 'The Sky at Night', which is broadcast at around 1am on a Sunday night/Monday morning. It is only because the BBC is largely populated by arts graduates, rather then science graduates, that arts programming has received such disproportionate and undeserved patronage over the years.


Anonymous said...

Oh Dear, The Culture Show as an arts programme? Surely not. t is actually a showcase for a pop culture of fairly minimal standards and the trivial and superficial nature of the coverage therefore entirely suits the material they cover.

Glossy, anamoured of celebrity, superficial, but waht do you expect of a programme that elevates someone like Maddonna to "high art"? Idealisation of mediocrity has never been so obvious.

Gordon McCabe said...

Indeed. Madonna only lives half an hour or so away from me, to the North-East, but she's never so much as popped in for a cup of tea. Now, that's just plain rude. So, yes, I have to agree that she represents the mediocrity of pop-music.

I was in a really bad mood yesterday after Man U's late victory against Liverpool, so I should just add a little to my original post:

I think the BBC should fulfill a public service broadcasting remit, and to do so, it should broadcast minority interest programmes, but it should do so impartially, without trying to merely satisfy the personal tastes of those who happen to run the BBC. There should be minority interest programming covering the 'high' arts (literature, sculpture, painting, architecture etc), and an equal amount of programming covering serious science. Pop music should be covered by pop music programming, and film should be covered by film review programming. If, on the other hand, the BBC wants to pursue ratings only, then it should do without favouring minority interest arts over minority interest science.

Anonymous said...

TOBH I've failed almost utterly to notice this the BBC's devotion to the arts over the years. A devotion to house makeover programmes, sport, gardening, cooking, current affairs, Celbrity Dancing/Insect Eating or whatever they get up to- yes. But much in the way of interesting arts programmes- I can't say I've noticed. Talking about tv rather than radio.

Gordon McCabe said...

More recently, yes you're right, even arts programming has taken a backseat to 'lifestyle' programming, at least on the terrestrial channels. However, in the early 90s there was at least 45minutes of arts programming on after Newsnight every weekday evening. They were often presented by Sarah Dunant. Late Review was just one of these programmes. Do you not remember 'A Stab in the Dark' with Michael Gove, David Baddiel and Tracey MacLeod?

Anonymous said...

Afraid not, Gordon. Though it's only relatively recently that I've had access to the British channels. I was nearly going to say in my earlier post, and if there is an art programme about some great, it'l probably be by Rolf Harris. And looking at tv listings yday, I see there was an art programme by Rolf.