BBC set to axe one of its TV channels

I’m an avid BBC Four viewer. It’s probably my favourite television channel. But there are maybe a few new programmes on it each month, and they could just as easily be shown on BBC Two. Plus, with people increasingly recording television programmes onto their personal video recorders (such as Sky+) or catching up on iPlayer, there is less need for people to catch a programme during its original run. There is also less need for a channel like BBC Four that consists mostly of repeats.

But at least BBC Four fills a niche that the free market doesn’t (and won’t) cater for. High quality content is expensive, and the channel has relatively low viewing figures. Stand up, BBC Three. There is nothing on the BBC’s “youth” orientated channel that can not and is not supplied by the free market. E4, ITV2 as well as more general entertainment channels such as Five. Nor can BBC Three be said to provide a public service.

BBC Four sends out the right message to the public. That the BBC will continue to invest in high quality, high-brow entertainment. That TV will not be relegated to the status of the “idiot box”. That TV can stimulate thought, debate, discussion. That TV can be a respectable medium for intellectual conversation. BBC, please keep BBC Four, and axe BBC Three.

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