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"Fair and Unbiased"

So, Top Gear's man of mystery, the Stig, has unmasked himself in order to sell his book. The BBC is objecting to the publication of the book on the grounds that it breaches contractual and confidentiality agreements.

HarperCollins, the would-be publishers of the book, have issued a press release in which they say that they "are disappointed that the BBC has chosen to spend licence fee payers' money to suppress this book".

Remind me again who owns HarperCollins, and why they might want to make political capital at the BBC's expense in the run-up to the renegotiation of the BBC charter, and possible abolition of the license fee.

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heh. Did you see my blog post on this? At Pangloss.

I hadn't, but have read it now.

It's interesting that you ask "is it reasonable that be be bound indefinitely by his consent?"

I hadn't assumed that the NDA with the BBC was indefinite, just that it persisted for the duration of his contract with the Beeb (that is, he's free to reveal all after he ceases to be on the show, but that the identity of the Stig-that-is-currently-on-the-show remains secret).

I thought someone else had unmasked him a couple of years ago?

That was the previous incumbent.

So some bloke who drives a car on a program that insists that speeding and antisocial behaviour are basically okay and a bit of a laugh, hosted by bigoted, brutally unpleasant, borderline evil petrol-headed car supremacists is going to go public with something entirely irrelevant?

Frankly, while the BBC funds something a horrific as that, I'm all for this (or anything else) being used at their expense. The BBC should be a fine organisation, a cornerstone of Britishness and a benchmark of quality. It isn't.

I think Clarkson is the only one that fits your description of bigoted, brutally unpleasant, borderline evil. Plus, it's a show about cars, it would be weird if the presenters weren't, you know, a bit into cars. It would be like a cookery show hosted by a breatharian.

Horrific? Really? Genocide's horrific. Top Gear's just pathetic, saddening lads-maggery.

Edited at 2010-08-24 08:29 am (UTC)

I think that you are mistaking the baby for the bathwater. Yes, Top Gear is laddish and petrol-headed ("brutally unpleasant", "borderline evil" and "horrific" are both subjective judgements and hyperbole), and I can't make excuses for that. The homophobic undercurrent is the aspect of the show that most concerns me.

However, by judging the BBC - all of the BBC - through a single show, you're playing into the hands of those who would like to see the BBC usurped.

BSkyB is a New Corporation company (as is HarperCollins), and I'm sure that Murdoch would like nothing more to see an emasculated BBC. I'm also sure that our new masters in Whitehall would like to see more a subservient BBC (never minding that our previous masters wanted the same), but I don't think that ousting the BBC from their position as the news broadcaster of note and replacing them with Fox News will serve the UK at all well. In terms of revenue, BSkyB already outperforms the BBC (2009 revenue of roughly £5.5B, compared to £4.5B for the BBC).

The BBC *is* a fine organisation and a benchmark of quality, but by harping on about a single show, you're in danger of making the converse a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Seriously? Your universe is so deviod of real concerns that you get so upset by something like 12 hours of tv per year?

Sure, Top Gear is purile, but it's hardly the end of civilisation.

I think HC suck for trying to tuse his non-event it to drum up publicity, but the BBC suck more for trying to block the guys book. If he's breaking the contract, just sack him, it's not a big deal. I don't buy the whole News Corp consipracy theory thing, nobody really cares, except you lot apparently.

PS I saw the previous guy (Perry Macarthy [sp]) at some trade show. He was teaching fat geeks how to drive a F1 simulator, shilling for a company that sells datacentre equipment. The whole biography thing didn't really work out for him.

If you're taking those three seriously, you've perhaps missed that they don't.

Top Gear's a comedy program hidden beneath a thin veneer of motoring. The worst bit is that it's trying too hard of late and blatantly scripting too many "impulsive" things.

Read the foreword to later (Penguin) editions of "Stupid White Men" to see just how much HarperCollins care about writer's freedom.

I thought The Stig was pretty definitively a bunch of different drivers?

Clarkson reminds me of Julie Burchill; having the knack of making people want to rip the newspaper in half or punch the TV screen is good for sales and publicity. the homophobia is distateful - remember when they painted gay slogans over one of the cars while they were driving through the deep south and staged a stoning. but yes, the whole thing is very like fox hunting (the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible) and a waste of brain cells.

No way is Clarkson anywhere near as bad as Burchill.

So, coming up in the next series, the team use nitrous again.

Oh no. Another tragic accident.

Nitrous in a Reliant Robin would be amusing.

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