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Lord Reith is dead. Let's hear it for Big Brother by Mind Map: Lord Reith is dead. Let
0.0 stars - reviews range from 0 to 5

Lord Reith is dead. Let's hear it for Big Brother

For the motion

Toby Young

'Reithian' programmes still exist - there are an abundance of channels now devoted to news, current affairs and documentaries.

Some want fewer channels and more responsible programming, but who decides on this 'less' polluting material? Even the cultural elite are fallible.

The evil of intervention can do more harm than the harm people are doing to themselves. When you decrease someone's level of freedom, you lessen their sense of responsibility.

David Elstein

Lord Reith's fundamental approach was having complete control over what people viewed. He achieved this through his monopoly of the BBC.

When new channels come into fruition the quality of programmes is naturally improved.

While not everything on television is of good quality, at least there is choice. There are thousands of books and films, why should broadcasting be any different?

Tim Gardam

Television opens up the avenues of our imaginations and engages with the whole range of our emotions.

When Big Brother came out it changed the idiom of television narrative and challenged television producers and their tired formats.

With new formats and ideas, Channel Four can help establish the most challenging era of television.

Against the motion

Stephen Bayley

There is no balance in today's television schedules; intelligent programmes are marginalised whilst low-brow television dominates.

The 'germ' of celebrity culture has perverted television.

Not anti-choice but pro-standards. Responsible programming is not being authoritarian but choosing good over bad.

Lloyd Evans

Television was intended as an intellectual fertiliser but instead of dragging up the masses, the masses have dragged down television.

We cannot get rid of celebrity culture but we can examine the changes and social fragmentation it has brought about.

The motion that television and education are enemies is wrong., New node

Howard Jacobson

Television empties the mind and comes at the 'expense of the spirit'.

Television should free people, not confine them. Reith wanted to give viewers what they 'ought' to have but this idea has become abhorrent.

Today's television is low. It is wrong to keep people in a hole of celebrity dreaming, egomania and a lack of intellectualism.

Questions from the floor

There is a sense in which voting on BB is a ritual in democracy. Would you agree that the cultural prominence that is now given to BB is not a failure of culture, but in fact is a failure of the political process, which should actually be capturing that energy.

Tim Gardam, There are two issues here. One, the failure of modern politics to find the idiom whereby it can engage on television with complexity. And secondly, a program which, just through its raw enthusiasm, got people excited and got people voting. But no one would say that a vote on BB is a serious thing.

Should we have a questionaire, and possibly even a plebiscite, every time we pay our license fee?

David Elstein, People should have a choice. If you don't pay you don't get BBC content, but they have the choice. One of the great problems with the licence fee is that there is nothing you can do about it. Also, television is swamped with research which crushes creativity and originality. Programmes have got to start somewhere but it shouldn't start with a questionnaire

I'm concerned that BB is so profitable and that so many other broadcasters try to copy it. Can the panel convince me that not all the money in television is chasing after similar programs like BB?

Tim Gardam, The deficit from such programs as Channel 4 News is paid for by the profits made by programs like BB. Channel 4 is doing well in that it is trying to maintain a system of cross subsidy, yet it has not articulated its public purpose and ambition, which essentially should be one of intellectual emancipation.

There was recently a hoax about a life-saving kidney transplant reality TV show. Have we gone too far? Do we go further? And when does vibrancy turn into vulgarity?

Howard Jacobson, It was indeed a hoax. Designed to raise the profile of organ donation. The woman who allegedly needed the kidney was an actress. But it did raise the issue to prominence and however vulgar, it had a huge affect.