I used to feel confident in trusting the BBC. I and many others my age enjoyed our late 90s childhood years. We were quite comfortably over saturated with CBBC’s after school entertainment- the eye catching, bright colours, the chirpy, spirited young presenters who seems to relate to us all so well. It suited our demographic well and I don’t think any of us, at 8 years old, had any complaints.
However, we are not children anymore. The BBC’s mission statement maintains that they aim to ‘enrich people’s lives with programmes that inform, educate and entertain’. All very well. Considering the BBC’s diverse range of media outlets are aimed at an all inclusive modern day Britain, I can only assume that, in the case of BBC3, these programmes have been carefully designed for idiots. Let’s not beat about the bush here- it’s pretty much an ‘either/or’ situation.
BBC3 seems to take the BBC’s mission statement and manipulate it ever so slightly; instead of these programmes being informative, educational and entertaining, they are educational or informative or entertaining. And, lets not forget, BBC3’s definition of entertaining is dubious at best. As students, we fit rather neatly into the channel’s suspiciously vague 15-34 year old target audience demographic. Essentially, BBC3’s target audience age range may contribute heavily to the core of the problem. The rather loosely grouped ages 15-34 tends to span from under eighteens to those well established into adulthood, and all those tricky years in between. What do BBC3 choose to feed these fertile, tumultuous, rapidly expanding young minds? Well it seems that if you’re aged 15 to 34 and you find yourself suddenly and urgently concerned about Danny Dyer’s opinions on the existence of aliens, BBC3 is your first point of call. To put it simply, almost all of their programmes are so incredulously cretinous that I often wonder, whilst watching, if BBC3 are actually just playing some kind of cruel joke on me. The informative ‘Don’t Get Screwed’ is a programme consisting of consumer law set to a Top Of The Pops soundtrack and fronted by vacant looking pretty people who appear to be suspiciously dead behind the eyes. Then there’s the relatively new ‘Hotter Than My Daughter’ series- a makeover show presented by a forgotten member of a forgotten girl band that pits mothers and daughters against each other in a bid to look the most attractive.
Get your act together BBC3, because I am not informed, not educated and certainly not entertained by these poor excuses for television programmes. Of course, it’s important not to forget BBC3’s educational documentaries, but even then, they’re fronted by a presenter with celebrity credentials in order to drag in more ratings. As far as I can remember, BBC3’s origins were rooted in showcasing sharp, young British comedy and drama. Although these gems still sparkle on their listings, it’s now rare. There appears to be such a lack in quality British programming for young people- in turn giving way to vapid, soulless, condescending MTV style programming for the masses. Is this the way forward for youth television?