My original reaction to the screening of this show in 2008 appears under Reviews.
This is the letter I wrote in response to a reply from Ofcom:
I was interested to receive your reply, and glad to know that so many other viewers had complained about the xenophobic commentary to the Eurovision Dance contest that you had viewed the programme to investigate the attitudes it embodied.
Nonetheless, I was naturally disappointed that your conclusions did not substantiate those of the concerned viewers who wrote to you. While you acknowledge that ‘Len Goodman was clearly biased’, and ‘made comments that could be deemed to be unsuitable’, I do not feel that you address my basic arguments, namely that:
1. The dance ‘experts’ were given free rein – not, as might be expected, to provide informed and informative insights into the technique and style of the dancers and dance genres involved – but to vent their chauvinistic spleen on the universally good-natured European contestants simply because they were foreign, and getting more points than the UK…
2. A Public Service broadcast medium whose remit is (or used to be) not only to entertain, but more crucially to inform and to educate, should never employ them again.
3. Enshrining such attitudes in a BBC transmission on Prime Time television will convey the message to any children watching that the way to respond to the talents and courtesy of other nations (especially when they outshine our own) is to ridicule and insult them. Older viewers, who should know better, will have had their prejudices confirmed. Is it any wonder that interracial street violence in on the increase when the attitudes that underlie it are given such unrestrained public sanction?
You say that you place importance on context and the general expectations of the likely audience. This is tantamount to saying that if your audience wants crap, you will feed them crap.
I sincerely believe that in contrast to the commercial stations, the BBC has not only the duty but the power to change and enrich society. In the face of depressingly dwindling evidence (the standard of both drama and documentary output is nothing to what it was in the past), I cling to that belief.
I would also like to believe that Ofcom has the power to influence all programme makers for the good. If not, what is your purpose?
With many thanks in anticipation of a fuller reply,
Yours faithfully, ……………
I have not yet received a reply to my letter, and am sending it again in case it has got mislaid or lost in the post.
I would now like to support my request for clarification with a copy of my letter to the people responsible for checking entries to the BBC blog, in response to the flood of postings appalled at the BBC over the Jonathon Ross & Russell Brand affair, as that explains my position further.
I now renew my request for a detailed reply,
Yours faithfully, ……….
Dear Blog Checker,
I was very disappointed to hear that my blog on the xenophobic commentary to the Eurovision Dance contest had been ‘removed’. In fact I had never seen it appear, so I think a more suitable term would be ‘rejected’.
You referred to the danger of being ‘potentially defamatory’. I would now appreciate a full commentary on the specific reasons for its rejection, particularly in the light of the copious correspondence (which I was delighted to read) that has just appeared in response to the appalling behaviour of Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand.
I am fully in support of the comments made by listeners disgusted by their behaviour, but I would like to know why expressions such as:
– ‘deplorable Ross and Brand’,
– generally crude, under-amusing and grossly overpaid-
– some prat
– a foul-mouthed preening sad-sack
– ‘the absolute cowardice of the BBC’
– ‘crass, vulgar and offensive manner,
are allowed to pass painlessly through your censoring process, when my own, of barely equivalent force, did not.
(Not to mention the pitiful lack of awareness of grammar, syntax, logic and spelling of the writer of:
‘expressing morale outrage at only here about this after Brand had a go at a newspaper in his apology why do you think about that, and it was funny’)
[My emphasis throughout].
I look forward to your detailed reply, and thank you in anticipation.
As I always keep my letters of acknowledgment, too, and there is none, I presume that no reply to that letter was forthcoming…