Reasons to BBC Cheerful Part Two: “The Sound and The Fury”

February 18, 2013

It’s over a year since I wrote a cautiously optimistic blog post about the organisation I work for.

A lot has happened since then. Not all of it good.

But it’s true to say that last week in BBC Future Media where I work there were a lot of people with smiles on their faces. Many perhaps were just relieved that after a period of limbo some decisions had been made.

I was very pleased about James Purnell’s appointment as the Director of a new Strategy and Digital Division. When I used to work in Editorial Policy nearly two decades ago he was working in Strategy. He struck me as a decent man. I have a feeling he both likes the BBC and understands its public service ethos.

Still what’s most important and what will sustain the BBC through both the aftermath of the Saville revelations and the turbulent digital landscape is the quality of its programes. Programmes like the fantastic “The Sound and The Fury” which started on BBC FOUR last week. Modernism in literature and music is my thing and this opening programme was up to the usual excellent standard of BBC music programmes, with wonderful use of archive and excellent performances which were available at greater length on the Red Button afterwards.

It also showed what a good television programme can do. I’ve read Alex Ross’ definitive book “The Rest is Noise” so have some knowledge of the subject. But its only when I saw the juxtaposition of images, archive footage and music that I started to understand why Schoenberg wrote the music he did.

This was public service television at its best. And there’s more to come this week!

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