Wednesday, 28 January 2015

No book programmes on TV? Rather than moan about it, Mr Harris, go and make one


I make no secret of my dislike for the manner in which books (and arts in general) are discussed by the folk in the media. So I was struck by the report that Robert Harris, who I gather is a successful author, had a go at the BBC - and broadcasting in general - for its coverage of 'books':

‘Today we have 300 television channels and no dedicated book programme and it does seem to me that that is an absolute disgrace,’ he told the audience, who cheered in response. ‘The BBC, a monetary funded organisation, should do a bit more to help business. Whether we write fiction or non fiction, we provide the basis for movies, for documentaries and I do think Tony Hall if you’re watching this on the BBC news do a little bit more for the book trade please."

OK, let's take Mr Harris at his word and agree that (as he told the reporter) there is a demand for a TV programme about books. If this is the case then there is a market opportunity and Mr Harris, rather than expecting the BBC to spend taxpayers money on making such a programme, should invest his own cash - or cash from other investors - in what is clearly a great business idea.

Unless, of course, the demand is only from the tiny audience of self-important glitterati in which case, Mr Harris, this is just special pleading.


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