BBC ‘UK’s strongest cultural brand’

Published: Friday 27th February 2015 by The News Editor

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House Of Cards author Michael Dobbs has described the BBC as “arguably this country’s strongest cultural brand”.

However, Lord Dobbs said the Corporation has taken an “extraordinary battering” in recent years and that much of the criticism has been justified.

The writer’s political thrillers were adapted into a BBC drama, which in turn inspired the hit Netflix series starring Kevin Spacey.

Giving this year’s Royal Television Society Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture last night, Lord Dobbs said: “The BBC is arguably this country’s strongest cultural brand.

“It has an impact in every corner of the globe. It is one of the prime weapon systems in our arsenal of soft power that will grow increasingly important in the years of uncertainty that lie ahead.

“That doesn’t mean giving the BBC a blank cheque, or refraining from giving it a good kicking when it deserves it, but it does mean making sure it has the opportunity, and the encouragement, to meet its ambition of doubling its global audience to half a billion people in the next seven years.

“A vibrant system of public service broadcasting that is part of our future, not just a glorious past.

“If we didn’t have the BBC, how much would we be willing to pay, to invent it?”

Lord Dobbs referred to a string of controversies that have engulfed the BBC in recent years, including the Jimmy Savile scandal.

He said: “Suffice it to say that the BBC has taken an extraordinary battering in recent years, no more so than over Savile.

“I think much of that criticism is justified. Sometimes the BBC has seemed more like a private fiefdom than a public service.

” It ducked away from broadcasting its own inquiries into the Savile scandal, leaving that to ITV.”

Lord Dobbs picked out other areas in which, he said, the Corporation’s record “isn’t spotless”.

One was Europe. ” The BBC has an institutional bias in favour of the European Union and all its works,” he told the audience.

“It has taken sides in an ongoing debate. That’s been acknowledged in report after independent report.”

He also highlighted immigration, saying: “T oo often and for too long the BBC has implied that anyone who wanted to question immigration policies must be racist.”

The BBC is still “the most trusted source of news in the UK”, the peer and f ormer adviser to Margaret Thatcher said.

He added: ” It’s often very, very good at news. Equally often, it’s terrible at self-criticism.”

Published: Friday 27th February 2015 by The News Editor

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