The BBC is very, very sorry. Again.

Yesterday’s One Show discussed Wallace and Gromit, and a message in the end credits promised a festive W&G video for anyone who texted in. It cost 10p.

I quite like W&G, so I duly sent a message. Now, The One Show finishes at 1930, and at 1931 – according to my phone – I got a text saying my request had been received. At 2144 the video itself came through. I watched it. It was short, but funny.

24 hours later and I’ve just received another text from the BBC. They’re very sorry for the delay I experienced in receiving my video. They’ve let me know two separate ways to submit feedback.

FFS, BBC! You don’t have to apologise for every little thing. You’re trying to send a 125k video-MMS to thousands of people simultaneously – I’m impressed you managed it in two hours, frankly, and anybody with half a brain can appreciate that it might be technically challenging. And those with less – The Daily Mail and the Conservative Party – are always going to hate you. It’s what they do. Look at the evidence: you’re already the best television network in history; you already produce content that’s the envy of the entire world; you’ve already spent the last three months caving to their every desire. None of it’s helped. What are you expecting to happen?

Look, here’s why I care. I’m very interested in the skeptical community, who are in turn pretty interested in the BBC. I recently explained to a friend that while the skeptical community goes nuts when the BBC reports uncritically on woo1, nobody cares much when it’s other channels. C4, maybe, but ITV or Sky? As if. Nobody expects high standards from them. But when the BBC get something wrong we anticipate it being fixed. How is this different from the above? Because when we complain, we think you will understand the complaint. We think that because you’re only beholden to high standards, rather than shareholders or advertisers, you’ll actually think things through and assess complaints for their merit. This is entirely different from rolling over because somebody’s not happy. That’s what everyone else does, because they suck. That’s not the BBC way.

If, say, Panorama produce a ridiculous, scare-mongering piece on the dangers of wifi, we’ll complain about it. We then expect you to independently research the dangers of wifi, in order to find out who’s correct. We like this, because it works both ways: when you produce a sane, rational piece on the dangers of wifi and the woo community go mental, you’ll assess their complaints logically too. And they’ll be wrong, and we’ll be right. And you’ll figure this out for yourself, because you’re the BBC and that’s what you do. And of course it can’t work all the time, but at least you try.

That’s just one of the reasons the BBC is so important. So please stand up for yourself, and stop bloody apologising. It’s embarrassing.

  1. incidentally, I prefer ‘woo’ to ‘pseudoscience’, because last month I overheard someone explain applied kinesiology with ‘there’s no evidence for it, so it’s only a pseudo science’. Which actually caused me to pull a muscle in my brain []