Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


4 December 2020

The BBC – Imperfect Beauty

Presented By Professor Jean Seaton as part of the CRCC Seminar Series

About this event

The BBC faces epic challenges in international markets (but it could play well in those), in the international battle against mis and dis information especially highlighted by Covid, (but is one of the great tools of re-imagining explaining and clarifying information so could play a very big role in that), it faces vast and important changes in how we communicate that have de-stabilised political systems (but as the cornerstone for a uniquely successful creative industries sector in the UK it can begin to create new responses to that). Unlike many British institutions it has a world reputation. So why has the government broken the proprieties around appointing a chair, and why is it vulnerable to a well-funded campaign by competitors to reduce its revenue, and why was a spuriously public campaign to 'de-fund' it given such prominence by the press? How can the BBC survive?

Jean Seaton is Professor of Media History and the Official Historian of the BBC. She will publish in the Autumn of 2014 the next volume of the Corporations story, Holding the Line: the BBC and the Nation, taking Lord Asa Briggs work forward for Profile Books. This involves everything the BBC did in a tumultuous decade from the conflict in Northern Ireland, to the invasion of the Falklands, to Not the Nine O'Clock News, the Proms, the early music revolution, devolution, Dennis Potter's greatest plays, Attenborough's revolutionary series Life on Earth, and Radio 1s most influential moment, as well as the role of women in the Corporation, programmes for children and a tense and complicated relationship with the government. The history was given privileged access to BBC archives, but also gained privileged access to state papers. For the first time the Corporation's history is seen in the round. It has depended on several hundred interviews, and explores both the programme making decision that go into the making of an iconic Television series like John le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but also the high politics around the imposition of the broadcasting ban.

Contact details

  • Questions about this event? Contact the CRCC Seminar Series organisers