Last week the BBC broadcast a feature-length drama which drew a fair amount of praise from critics. Called Freefall, it was about the financial meltdown as experienced by a city trader, a mortgage broker and a young married couple who take on a new house way above their means.
Many conservatives get rightly exercised by the unbalanced treatment of political parties and the bias in news-reporting. But in the longer term, the worldview which underpins most of the non-news output of the BBC is far more insidious in the effect it has on our cultural drift.
Freefall was exceptionally well made, flawlessly acted and absorbing. But from a political point of view, it was utterly predictable; it could have been written ten, twenty or thirty years ago. And doubtess it will be made ten or twenty years hence.
The trader and the broker were appalling characters with no redeeming qualities. Not only were their actions irresponsible; they were as individuals repulsive: empty, selfish and amoral. The young couple, on the other hand, were virtually saintly; the only weakness the husband could be accused of was naivety (which is, in this universe, hardly a defect at all.)
There are, in the real world, many city people with a wide range of views about this crisis, the part they've played in it and the environment they've been inhabiting. They also have families (the trader and the broker in the play were solitary emotional vacuums).
There are also, in the real world, 'ordinary' people who have racked up debts of £20,000 on designer clothes spending sprees, who buy because they 'are worth it' and who see it as a personal affront to defer gratification.
We all know both types. Not, though, the BBC. Even Ken Loache might have baulked at the crudeness of these characterisations (not content with selling his old school friend a dodgy mortgage, the broker then flirts insincerely with the guy's wife, further destablizing the happy household. Evil to the core, see?)
As I said, Freefall was also, for the reasons above, a superior piece of TV drama. And herein lies the dilemma for many people when it comes to the BBC. They want the high quality drama productions uninterrupted by ads, and the documentaries, and the Proms, and all the rest. But they might also be sick of the peddling of a liberal/left orthodoxy as the only acceptable worldview.
Whether or not it is worth suffering the latter in order to have the former is a question which is coming more and more to the fore. I for one am becoming less and less torn.