Quentin Letts is the Parliamentary sketchwriter of the Daily Mail
Sterner editorial discipline may not be easily imposed on a sprawling organisation, yet this is essential if the BBC is to retain political support. It will fall into line if the Director-General re-states quickly – with some early coups de main - a morality about the way the licence fee is spent.
The BBC’s mission is “to inform, educate and entertain”. Note that batting order. “Entertain” comes third. That is where it belongs.
There is clearly no point making shows which are not going to be watched or heard, but some output has become so over-sugared by populism that it may present a health risk to diabetics. Certain channels shimmer and tingle with the broadcasting equivalent of e-numbers and saccharine: phone-ins, votes, celebrity guests, studio audiences, canned hilarity, leaden emphasis on “relevance”. As politicians say - though seldom mean - Britain deserves better. So do the many people at the BBC who want to make more serious programmes, but at present feel under pressure to conform to low-brow demands.