Saturday, November 18, 2006

Me vs. the BBC

Not quite Michael Moore, but if I have trouble with my reception we'll know why. Just to bring you up to date with the latest from the BBC about the 'great online horse's head in a bed' thing. They have replied, politely, if a little disengenously in my view, which I guess they have to or the OFCOM (he will appear again soon) boogeyman gets them. Latest first:

Dear Mr. Lynn,

I should begin by advising you that only the department you wrote to will know the answer to this question,

As you will note further on, they did not answer my question the first time, so it is hard to see why they might a second. Hence my writing to your department.

however, should you wish us to investigate this matter further could you please tell us why you are concerned about this question

As you will see from the attached correspondence, I asked a question, which was in part answered, though not very well.

In addition, the question 'in question' was asked, without any context as to why or what it meant. If that doesn't sound a bit odd, and not a little sinister, then I don't know what is. Especially left hanging. Still. For example I could ask a lot of things of you about your personal or business life that have nothing to do with the issue at hand, and it may be fair that if they are about something close to home it might be unnerving, no?

The BBC, despite being a public service, staffed by public servants paid for by a fee covered by the likes of me, has a bit of a reputation for gunning for folk, armed with being a monopoly, a very broad remit, a strange level of accountability and a very big pool of money to spent pretty much as it pleases.

So in an era of copyright protections, UGC debates, etc, I was a little concerned if I may have breached something unwittingly, despite the content being by me and about me. And hence I asked for clarification.

If, however, a point was being made, and I suspect I know what it was, then it would be.. polite.. not to say in the sprit of debate... to reply, don't you think? That just smacked of, 'We're the BBC and I have a lot of mates here who can make your life tricky'. Not good with charter renewal. Plus a very big networld out there. And the media. Who is that chap from the Sunday Times who didn't want to pay for his licence? I wonder what else I can Google up. Plus my MP. And a few others in Parliament. See, I might have mates, too.

This is a programme that continually asks for reader input: and from my experience, and that of others, completely ignores it. Not even a 'thanks, but we've done that/we're not in the area'. Nothing. Until now. And when I do get a reply, it seems like a veiled threat unless clarified otherwise. Which was not forthcoming. That's the trouble with email. Tone is removed and misunderstandings can happen.

and forward us the relevant correspondence.

Here you go (all on the 14th, pretty much as an exchange until my last - I waited until the next day to write to you) [I'll leave it in but it's back in another post]:


Dear Ms. Jones
It is/was open to those in the UK, and further field who have a business needing investment to continue its growth and it is meant to be more than just a one off competition. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the item.

I was disappointed in as much as I tuned in to see about a further opportunity to expand, which seemed to have passed. If it is still open to those in the UK then maybe I should have not have been. Where can I find out more

May I ask do you use "see us on the BBC" on all your promotional literature ?

As we don't have any, I'd say no, unless you count my email signature. May I ask why you ask? Would you like me to stop? It was a while ago.


Dear Sir,

It is/was open to those in the UK, and further field who have a business needing investment to continue its growth and it is meant to be more than just a one off competition. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the item.

May I ask do you use "see us on the BBC" on all your promotional literature ?

Best wishes

Lynne Jones


Sent: 14 November 2006 12:58
To: Working Lunch
Subject: Comment for 'Viewers' Views'

Dear Sirs,

I tuned in to watch because of this:

On Tuesday we talk to venture capitalists from the Isle of Man who are running a competition to find entrepreneurs.

Interesting questions posed.

So I'm clear, this is now a closed competition and it was/is not open to me anyway? So really it was a promo piece for the IoM than of any real value to businesses like mine?

If you are able to provide this further information, then we would be happy to look at the matter again.
Glad to make you happy.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

No problem.

I look forward to hearing from you again.

Rgds, Peter Martin
British Citizen, TV Owner, Licence Payer

---------Original Message-----------

{Date:} 15/11/2006
{Feedback Type:} Complaint

{Title:} Mr
{First Name:} Peter
{Last Name:} Martin

{Phone:} 01989 762269
{Postcode:} HR9 7BZ
{Country:} England

{About:} General
{Network:} BBC2

{Programme Name:} Working Lunch
{Transmission Date:}14 - 11 - 06

Not a complaint... yet. But as things have been left hanging more than 24hrs after a flurry of activity, I have a... concern.

I wrote to the above programme with a question, and in addition to my answer had the following comment regarding my email signature:

May I ask do you use "see us on the BBC" on all your promotional literature ?

I immediately answered, but then asked why this was posed, but to date have not heard back.

May I therefore formally ask for an explanation as I remain
unclear for the reasons behind this question and the manner in which it was asked.

ADDENDUM: You couldn't make it up! Nice of them to mention it... Plus I can see how me going through the whole process again to answer the guy directly is more efficient. Not.

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