Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Culture is for sale

I have to admit i've never seen the tv show 'the Great British Bake Off'. Personally i find a programme all about food a bit distasteful when there are millions of people across the UK who cant afford to eat

I could be wrong about this but i get the impression your typical 'bake off' viewer is middle class and middle aged with a comfortable standard of living - the kind of person who put the tories in power last year and who took the UK out of europe this year. In a previous age they would have no doubt sat down to enjoy the exploits of the Medwins in Purley aka 'Terry and June'.

Set in affluent suburban croydon Terry and June was middle england's very own sitcom - the day the Medwin's lawn mower broke down was about as interesting as things got in terry and june land. And despite the fact the show appeared in a decade riven with major economic and political upheavals - the miners strike, mass unemployment - 1980s reality never intruded on the medwin household. And there were no blacks no gays and no lefties - yes Terry and June was a kipper dreamland.

But enough of historical detours in the home counties because 'middle england' has suffered a terrible shock this week. No it's not that house prices have dropped again - it's much worse than that! The news that will have sparked wholesale panic among owners of semi detached dwellings across the land is that the great british bake off will be leaving the BBC - and moving to channel 4. And it's moving because the company that produces 'bake off' have had a better offer from channel 4, a better offer to the tune of 10 million pounds

That bake off was effectively up for auction will probably come as a surprise to a lot of people but since the so called 'birt revolution' of the 90s the BBC doesnt actually make that many shows anymore. Rather it commissions shows made by other companies - in this case the 'bake off' by Love Productions. And in this instance the owners of Love Productions have seen an opportunity to get fabulously rich very quickly and grabbed it with both hands.

Dont let anyone tell you it's 'art for arts sake - because in a capitalist society it really is all about the money. Entertainment and culture are 'commodities' which can be bought and sold like anything else. Look at how the most popular sport across britain - football - has virtually disappeared from terrestial tv screens, and if you want to watch european or premier league football live you have to take out an expensive subscription to the likes of Sky or BT. 


PS. news came today that the presenters of 'bake off' wont be presenting the show on its new home on channel 4. In a statement issued this morning Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins stated "we're not going with the dough". Amen to that - would that others would do the same!

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