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Pay the Murdochs for F1 coverage? No way!

On the 2 August 2011 I posted the following on the BBC complaints page.

I am furious that Formula One will not be covered fully by the BBC from 2013 onwards. Having paid my TV licence for 47 years, I object to having to pay extra to watch one of my two favourite sports (the other is tennis - please don’t do this with Wimbledon). Even more, I object to having to put money in the bulging pockets of the Murdoch dynasty, especially when they are under investigation by Parliament for various corrupt practices.

Perhaps if you hadn’t wasted so much money (and incidentally broadcast time) on irrelevant computer-generated content, royalties to Fleetwood Mac for the use of ’The Chain’, silly bits of poetic nonsense (something you’ve also started doing with Wimbledon) - not to mention hiring David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan and flying them all over the world - you’d have been able to keep the F1 contract and give us straightforward, professional coverage of this important sport. All the real fans want to see the events and hear informed comment, which Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle provided on ITV. I won’t even start on Jake Humphrey...

I realise that times are hard, thanks to the freezing of the licence fee and the withdrawal of Foreign Office funding for the World Service, for which we have to thank a Tory-dominated Government with no democratic mandate.’

All credit to the beloved Beeb. I got an email reply within an hour or two of my posting:

Dear Mr Marsden

Reference CAS-909648-T4TBVT

Thanks for contacting us regarding the BBC’s rights to broadcast future seasons of ’Formula One’.

We understand you are unhappy that the BBC won’t be showing all races in future seasons due to the sharing of broadcast rights with Sky.

We know that Formula 1 has an extremely passionate following in the UK and that some fans will be disappointed that not all races will be available exclusively live on the BBC from next season.

We are operating in a very tough financial climate and in common with all areas of the BBC, BBC Sport is having to make significant cost savings over the next few years in order to operate within the constraints of the licence fee settlement, therefore we have to make some difficult choices.

We believe this deal represents good value for money for licence fee payers. We retain live coverage of half of the race weekends and we will have extended highlights of the remaining races so we are pleased that all of the action from Formula 1 for the next seven seasons will remain on BBC television. Online coverage of the race weekends that we broadcast will remain the same, and we will carry all the news and reports from the rest of the season. Radio coverage will not change whilst the most popular races - the British Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix and the final race of the season will continue to be broadcast live on BBC One.

We would like to assure you that we’ve registered your complaint on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are made available across the BBC.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Kind Regards

Deborah McEntee
BBC Complaints

In the meantime, I had googled around for possible ways of seeing the Sky coverage via the Internet - and found lots of possible sites. This is a relief, because there is no way under the sun that I’m going to pay a subscription as long as the Murdochs have anything to do with Sky.

The patriarch Rupert has been a wholly evil influence in this country for far too long. He chose US rather than British citizenship when he was obviously finding being an Australian some sort of commercial and/or political handicap. He chose to live in the USA despite having huge business interests in the UK. He has, personally and through his UK media organisation, exerted enormous influence on UK governments of both party persuasions ever since the Thatcher era, despite not being a UK voter or, it seems, a UK personal taxpayer. His newspapers have brainwashed millions of our citizens for decades - The Sun and The News of the World quite blatantly and the broadsheets rather more subtly - and only our strict regulation of TV news channels has prevented him using that more powerful medium to extend the process, as his toxic Fox News does in the USA, pumping out Tea Party drivel under the guise of news to the gullible.

I am obviously deeply relieved that the phone-hacking scandal boiled over just in time to impede NewsCorp’s attempts to gain total control of BSkyB. We have to ask why they needed this when they already have the largest single holding of BSkyB stock and a board of directors which, in the midst of ’HackGate’, has just confirmed Rupert’s rather odd son James (did you watch him giving ’evidence’ to the Culture Committee?) as its Chairman.

Personal site for Paul Marsden: frustrated writer; experimental cook and all-round foodie; amateur wine-importer; former copywriter and press-officer; former teacher, teacher-trainer, educational software developer and documenter; still a professional web-developer but mostly retired.

This site was transferred in June 2005 to the Sites4Doctors Site Management System, and has been developed and maintained there ever since.