BBC’s Out-Of-Practice Arts Efforts

The BBC debuts its new TV arts series, but the cobwebs are showing. The BBC has become rusty when it comes to arts. “Over the past six years the BBC has all but abolished television arts coverage, scrapping The Late Show, Arena, Omnibus and one-off documentaries. Live performance also died, except at Proms time and Christmas. A corporation that once set the world standard for arts presentation resolved under director-general John Birt to dispense with art as an expensive nuisance. His successor Greg Dyke made a gestural restoration, employing the animal-lover Rolf Harris to enthuse about painting and recommissioning some live performance, though only for the minority channel, BBC4. It didn’t work.”