What shame? [Was: What a shame...]

Jonathan Stowe jns at gellyfish.com
Tue Oct 24 15:58:23 BST 2006

On Tue, 2006-10-24 at 14:57 +0100, Luis Motta Campos wrote:
> Dave Cross wrote:
> > Quoting Paul Johnson <paul at pjcj.net>:
> > 
> >> Personally, I think the licence fee is far too low and I would willingly
> >> sell my house and all of it's contents to help the BBC.
> > 
> > /me wonders how many people on the list are old enough to get that
> > reference :)
>   Well, in that case, I guess you should explain.
>   I don't consider myself old enought in british culture to understand this.

This could get a big long-winded to explain in it's full depth but I'll
give it a go.

There was (still is? dunno) a program on the BBC called "Points of View"
where viewers could write in (for in them days there was no email or
SMS) and give their opinion on the television programs of the last week
or so and the presenter would read them out and in some cases they would
have an actor reading them.  Occasionally these would get rather over
the top in their praise of the programs and it was all really rather
middle england and cosy.

About twenty five years ago there was a satirical comedy sketch show
called "Not the Nine O'Clock news" with some people who have gone on to
do rather well in their careers since, this was shown on BBC 2 at the
same time as the Nine O'Clock news was on BBC 1, hence the name. Quite a
lot of the content took the piss out of their employers (the BBC).

Anyway there was one particular sketch which went something like:

        Presenter: This week we've had a lot of comments about the Test
        Card. Mrs Smith of Avenham writes:
        Voice 1: Well done the BBC. Another winner!
        Presenter: And Mr. Cook of Stevenage called to say:
        Voice 2: The test card is quite magnificent. It justifies the
        licence fee on its own. I would willingly sell my house and all
        of it's contents to help the BBC.
The "test card" was something they transmitted on the television when
there were no programs, it was used to calibrate the television
transmission and receiving equipment.  You can see them
http://www.meldrum.co.uk/mhp/testcard/bbc_test.html - the one that would
have been used at the time was the one with the little girl and the
ballon clown.

Hope that helps.


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