Full list of BBC websites to close

The following BBC sub-sites and directories are due to close as part of Erik Huggers review:


While this may seem rather silly and come across as fairly scathing of the BBC, I think the broadcaster does a remarkable job and wish it a long and healthy life.

But the list of BBC websites to be closed makes it clear that there’s a bizarre lack of direction to a lot of the BBC’s online resources and overall strategy.

Why else would there be top-level directories for /thesummerofbritishfilm, whatever that is, or /abolition?

What are /tvmoments? Was a season on what it’s like to be white in Britain worth the url bbc.co.uk/white?

And there are some peculiar wide-ranging sub-directories like /chinesefoodmadeeasy and /zombies and /britain that smack of the land-grab instincts of the BBC’s digital empire.

In fairness, any self-respecting web ed would have been packing a traffic-heavy site like bbc.co.uk – that can wield enormous Page Rank – with top-level directories to hoover up traffic everywhere.

But that’s exactly what the BBC cannot afford to do – with hungry, worried commercial rivals looking jealously at the Beeb’s enormous online clout and crying foul.

While it’s sensible to rationalise these sprawling empires into a more straightforward navigational – and organisational – structure, the plans for BBC Online do not seem to recognise the value of some areas, and how they help fulfil the BBC remit, rather than detract from it.

Why, for example, should 6Music or Radio7 not have their own websites? And what’s wrong with the BBC having pages and sections for programmes it makes? Certainly they need to be correctly classified, but why give up web traffic for queries on BBC programmes to commercial rivals?

Why shouldn’t local sites use non-news content? Who else does (apart from SevenStreets in Liverpool, obv) beyond the piecemeal press-release based local newspapers? Why should the BBC generate 22 million external referrals a year? The BBC doesn’t advertise what’s on on ITV or Sky1 on its schedules.

Beyond the that, disposing of the Douglas Adams memorial h2g2 is sad. Certainly, it’s hard to see why the BBC should own it. But the BBC is a fairly bonkers organisation, why shouldn’t it? Little details like that are what makes the BBC the BBC – a (de facto) state organisation that engenders enormous trust and fondness among Brits.

The BBC certainly seems to have its problems, and it needs to be very careful of expanding into areas where it will clash directly with commercial rivals (that’s you, Lonely Planet). Then again, austerity and cuts for their own sake seem to be de rigeur these days.

Maybe the Beeb needs to look up bbc.co.uk/hairshirt.

The fall and fall of Question Time

I tend to watch Question Time after a few pints down the pub, as I suspect most do.

I’ve started to wonder, recently, whether the programme is actually pitched at a demographic of half-pissed pub goers who may happen to come across BBC1’s flagship discussion programme while channel hopping.

The reason why is there’s been a steady flow of genuinely awful pantomime dames and villains on recently on QT, who make it genuinely hard to watch.

There’s always been a wild card element to the QT panel – an Ian Hislop here or a Mark Steel there – but recently we’ve had Nick Griffin, Carol Vorderman, Kelvin Mackenzie and David Starkey, all so odious that I’ve not been able to sit through it for more than ten minutes.

I generally head over to Twitter to see if it’s just me going stark raving bonkers, but the Twittersphere seems to be in agreement (although that’s a demographic that, in all likelihood, is pretty similar to my own).

While Starkey is a renowned historian, he’s also a renowned nutcase but I can see the logic in getting him on. But Mackenzie? He’s just a fat horrible twat. And Vorderman? A celebrity debt-pushing adder upper? And that’s before I get to Griffin. Who’s next? Eugene Terre’Blanche?

I’m putting this down to the desire for an outspoken right-wing professional splutterrer to articulate the voice of the fabled common man, but really it just makes the whole thing unwatchable.

Seeing politicians trying to score points off one another is one thing. Seeing the latest right-wing rent-a-gob frothing, ranting and generally being oafish just exposes the pointlessness of the whole thing, especially with the increasingly fogeyish Dimbleby failing to preside over the whole sorry mess.

Below are my favourite Starkey reactions from Twitter, where the pompous old hobbit briefly became a trending topic earlier tonight. Keep a look out for Jim Davidson this time next week.

My favourite David Starkey reactions
 on Twitter

@jonboy79 [David Starkey has] spent so long studying the lives of pompous priggish royals that he has become one, by some sort of historical osmosis

@heppy: If David Starkey didn’t exist he’d have been invented by The League Of Gentlemen

@NinaGleams: RT @zofiewonkenobi David Starkey looks like an evil doormouse

@marcusbrig David Starkey is so utterly vile that I feel weepy, tired and unwell everytime he speaks

@Bethemediauk David Starkey is a pompous, overbearing, stuck up old tosspot. Which overshadow the rare ocassions when he actually has a point

@DCPlod It’s not just America that has crazy conservatives: David Starkey on BBC Question Time said 25% of British children are feral

@samdbarratt David Starkey is properly bonkers, too much. Next week a panel of Farrage, K McKenzie and Street-Porter? 

@Ruaridhnicoll Could David Starkey look any more like a Hogarthian nightmare? I can smell the corruption from here

@Scalded_Bollock I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say David Starkey is absolutely batshit.

@Drattigan Hello. My name is David Starkey, the Toad of Toad Hall

@dooobeee David Starkey, YOU ARE NOT AN ECONOMIST! listen to the 60 leading economists and IMF! 

@Julie4GS: David Starkey needs to be catapulted back into the seventeenth century where he belongs. Shut up you antiquated old

@Joemuggs Is David Starkey a ludicrous, clumsy prank designed to discredit Conservatism?

n.b. these represent a snapshot of about five minutes of tweeting. There was a whole hour to choose from.