The BBC’s capacity for shooting itself in the foot is legendary. Even the good stuff it commissions comes back to bite it in the foot: the satirical series W!A (poking fun at the Beeb) now looks like a reality programme.
The latest clanger is to change the format of its Wimbledon Today highlights programme to ‘Wimbledon 2Day’ which, in place of a sober but quite entertaining round-up, is, in the words of Radio Times editor Alison Graham: “a mess, a giddy mix of inane Tweets, snippets of matches (let’s not forget actual tennis is being played, something, presumably we all want to see which is why we’ve tuned in) and a bit of chat.”
It is indeed a car crash. And it’s not even an original one. The format, pundits standing outside at the event itself, has been nicked wholesale from BT Sport, which uses it to some effect at its football and rugby matches. When the Beeb does it it’s excruciating.
In a way this embarrassment (this morning’s BBC Today radio programme – not 2Day as yet – tried unavailingly to get someone from the Beeb to defend it) mirrors some of what is going on in advertising and communications generally. Companies and institutions designed for a more traditional age are trying desperately to get down and democratic with social media and the like. The upshot is that we have a world seemingly ruled by Twitter: dumbing down (into 140 characters) with a vengeance.