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Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Thoughts on the Thought

Bloody hell! The BBC may open up Thought for the Day to contributors other than those of the Deluded Herd? Unheard of! Very un-BBC!

But the Guardian was talking about it yesterday, saying the BBC Trust had launched an investigation.

Non-Brits may need a sentence of background. Thought for the Day is a mini-programme-within-a-programme (the Today news-based morning programme) and it has traditionally allowed spokespeople for various delusions and superstitions to spout for about three minutes about whatever takes their fancy, though mostly linked to topical events.

Secularists have been trying for years to get it opened up to non-religionists. That’s not to say they’d improve on what’s there, but at least it would make it fair, since we could have a little homily without – necessarily – the religious baggage.

To be fair, it has to be said that sometimes the speakers make sense, and you find yourself believing that the little talk has been interesting, with some good points made. The talk can sometimes be entertaining, especially when it's (the gay and out) Rabbi Lionel Blue. But that is not the issue.

What the silly thing is still doing in the middle of a major, flagship news-and-current-affairs programme is something known only to the rulers at the BBC and the churchmen who have them by the throat. But there you go. This is Britain, and we’re British. We can’t help it.

TFTD (it often finds itself reduced to an initialism) rather comes over as something you’d expect in a children’s programme, or a mini-sermon delivered to appeal to people of all levels of intelligence – and even those with no intelligence at all – in church on a Sunday morning. If we need a break for reflection, it would be far better if the BBC broadcast three minutes of total silence.

Now that would be brave!
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Related link:
The politics of Thought for the Day”, in which Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley gives more background, tells of a personal experience and links to an interview he did on the Today programme.

1 comment:

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