David Liddiment knows his stuff (and his column is one of the several very good reasons to buy Media Guardian Mondays) but he’s reading the BBC’s mission through the distorting lens of a career in commercial TV. Liddiment says that the BBC shouldn’t run spoilers to obviously commercial programmes on ITV (his example is Fame Academy against Pop Idol on Saturday night).
It’s obviously not the BBC’s job to rob the commercial channels of ad revenue by trashing their big shows but the alternative is too ugly to think about. A BBC that politely shrinks from primetime competition to leave the field open for the harried ad-funded outfits will quickly lose audience, currency and relevance.
The Beeb’s programmers know that, far from being incompatible with the charter, fierce competition in the mainstream is the only meaningful defense for a licence fee increasingly under fire.
Stop press: Liddiment just made a spectacular comeback to TV – he and two other old ITV execs just bought Chrysalis TV.