Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Why Britain Can't Do the Wire

No, this isn’t another piece about Gun Control, or some smirk that our UK murder rate is one fifth of yours because of the absence of guns. By way of apology for my prolonged Moose absence, I’m linking to a piece just published by Prospect Magazine (and causing a bit of a furore on The Guardian) about why British TV drama has declined, in relative quality, compared with the US.

This is a bit of a geeky professional piece about one profession, and with a UK slant. But you’ll know a lot of the programmes I cite, and the more interesting point is about…

Competition, Monopoly, and the role of the state and marketplace in Arts/Entertainment.

One of my main employers for the last 20 years, the BBC is (as you might know) a charter organisation, arms length from government, funded by a license fee – a flat tax on all TV sales.

In many areas, drama in the past, journalism and documentaries, this ‘non profit, non government’ model has worked in a stellar way. Growing up, I had access to some of the best current affairs, documentaries and popular drama.

But has that model had it’s day? Or is there some other lesson from the sudden emergence of this Golden Age of USTV.

I’m posting the whole unedited original article in a separate diary. Just click the links above if you want the shortened version.  


  1. fogiv

    …but I can tell you one reason why the quality of British TV is in the pooper.  We constantly steal your shows, actors, and writers!

    Off to check out the article.  Cheerio.

  2. (Warning: excessive simplistic use of labels follows.  Take with salt.)

    The Liberal pushback against Capitalism can be perceived (sometimes correctly) as a pushback against Entrepreneurialism, and that is something the average Average is never going to buy.  The splitting of the GOP into True Believers and Everyone Else is an acting out of the lesson the Democrats are well served to learn if they are going to Capitalize (oh, the irony… ;~) on the opportunity to own the majority for an extended period.

    While the shrill whine from the Wingnut Right [tm] overstates  the issue in every way, there is every reason to have real concern that an overreaching government could stifle the spirit of innovation and independence that more than anything else defines the American advantage.  That is in fact what happens when government through a wealth of good intentions goes too far in wrapping the population in swaddling and gauze.

    My more conservative friends – particularly the ones who heard me rail against Canadian (and to a lesser extent, American) Liberalism through the first three-quarters of this decade – are typically surprised that I don’t see Obama as the embodiment of the Nannystate that I so vocally oppose (don’t I know that he was the Most Liberal Senator??).  But I have had almost no reason as yet to change my opinion that he understands the need to keep a flourishing entrepreneurial environment in the US, and that losing this is tantamount to forfeiting US world leadership outright.  The shrill ranting of those the furthest to the left only lulls me into a state of confirmed contentment that he is remaining inside the sane pathway.

    And yes, I did say “almost no reason”.  Love the guy like a brother, but he is ideologically to my left by a warm country mile.  But I don’t think he’s self-destructively dense enough to act out the worst excesses of economic liberalism.

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