Yes, it was a bank holiday – but did that give the BBC an excuse to launch a licence-fee funded attack on its independent rival? The peg, if you can call it that, was ITV’s decision to turn off all its programming for an hour on Saturday morning as part of its ‘I am team GB’ campaign to get people into sports clubs, with the participation of an impressive number of freshly-garlanded Olympic medalists. The BBC is very sensitive to all of that: it likes to think it has the monopoly on piety, and can’t handle any other channel doing anything in the name of wider public service.
So the BBC Radio 4 Today programme took the very odd (and deeply uncharacteristic) step of commissioning a BBC-marinated comedian, Jake Yapp, to perform ‘a condensed version of what ITV viewers will be missing this morning’. It was an attack on its longstanding rival.
Sneering at Coronation Street, crowing about ITV using Sherlock from 1984 rather than the BBC’s taxpayer-funded version, the whole skit served to show BBC snobbery at its worst. But one line stood out:
‘Don’t forget, kids, if you enjoy watching orange-coloured women the age of your mother – Sorry, I forgot, this is ITV, and you’re probably working class – women the age of your grandmother…’
Oh how they must have laughed in New Broadcasting House! The oiks! The ones who don’t watch the BBC! Mocking them on the radio will be almost as funny as prosecuting them for not paying for the BBC that they don’t watch.
Here it is.