Quite often I find myself getting very irate with BBC viewers. Charlie Brooker summed it up beautifully last night when he said that there needs to be a counter complaint procedure allowing normal people to cancel out the actions of easily-offended, over-excitable humourphobes. 40,000 complaints about Ross/Brand, but no way to support them. Is that fair? I don’t think it is.
Complaints processes are necessary to give viewers a voice. But, as Charlie explained so eloquently, it seems that viewers seem to view their television schedules as a reality TV vote, complaining-off any shows they’re not too keen on, whether they watch them or not.
I agree with Charlie when he suggests that if viewers have the right to complain, they should also have the right to uncomplain. After all, there is no official method of praising a program. In reality TV terms, it would be the same as voting for someone to stay in — rather that just being able to boot them out.
Charlie’s thoughts were obviously comical, but I think the point is serious. We can’t let the vocal BBC complaint-brigade, giddy with power, to dictate who keeps their job and who doesn’t. They’re too hypocritical.
Take the Have Your Say forum, for instance. Right now, it’s alight with comments about John Sergeant quitting Strictly. Here are the top comments, as voted for by Have Your Say readers:
Of course not. The public should decide, and we have decided to keep him in.
Does anyone really believe that this has not happened as a result of the overpayed judges making threats to the producers and John being forced to quit, despite what he is saying publicly.
Yet another disgraceful editorial error from the BBC with the public face and the viewer suffering the consequences.
Daniel Porter Jones, London, United Kingdom
Sergreant succumbed to bullying and age discrimination sanctioned by the BBC. What a shame!
What a shame John feels he has to leave Strictly. I feel totally cheated after all the votes I’ve cast. The programme shouldn’t invite people on if it doesn’t accept the public could vote an ‘entertainer’ to win over a dancer. That’s it – no more votes from me on Strictly.
K Rogers, Wootton Bassett
In contrast, here’s the top comments from the debate after Daniel’s exit from X-Factor last week:
EU equals, Extremely Useless
Get a life !!!!
These programmes are total rubbish.
Matt Lamb, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
I ‘ve got talent show fatigue. Fed up, I am.
Am I the only one that thinks discussing this rediculous facade of a program in parliment is in itself rediculous.
The program is a bad example of the entertainment industry’s attempt to make filler instead of getting out there and finding people.
Get this reality rubbish tv off my tv. Now.
Wake up Britain. It’s a talent show. It doesn’t matter.
Just so we’re clear of the rules: Talent shows that old people like are important. Talent shows that young people like are not important.
Likewise, comedians that young people like should be off the air, but comedians that old people like — even offensive ones — are OK.
Say what you will about the merits of X-Factor, but there is no denying it’s as worthy of schedule time as Strictly. Ratings-wise, X-Factor consistently comes out on top — and that’s all that we need to know.
I’m sick of the grumpy minority that, without a proper complaints/praise procedure, are speaking on behalf of all the sane people who just like laugh and watch talent shows. On behalf of the youth of Britain, please shut up.
(Views expressed are solely my own and do not represent those of the BBC. Or John Sergeant.)