The great news lurking in the BBC cuts

Updated: 

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The axe fell with a clang at the BBC today, with 2,000 redundancies, the closure of Wood Lane, and major changes in programming.

There is disquiet over the number of repeats that will suddenly clog the schedules, and staff are rightly worried about their jobs. But for BBC 2 daytime viewers, this could be the best thing that ever happened to them.


The blows
Clearly there are massive downsides to the changes. Mark Thompson, director general, said there was no other way of cutting 20% of his budget over the next five years, and that this is the last time the BBC can consider cuts of this scale without destroying the service.

There is some horrible news: cuts to entertainment on BBC 1, small cuts in news budgets, a 15% cut in the sports budget and BBC Three and BBC Four acting as feeder channels to BBC One and BBC Two, which will see many more repeats.

The good news
However, in among this is the news that daytime on BBC Two will lose its original programming, and aside from a lunchtime news show will be dominated by repeats. This will bring two changes which could radically improve your life.

First, there's a very real risk we'll lose a huge number of property hunt shows.
At the moment, daytime viewers are packing in a range of them on any given day: To Buy or Not to Buy, Wanted Down Under, Escape to the Country. It's fueling an unhealthy obsession with property: what is our home worth? Is it worth as much as someone else's home? Should we move? Is our home and our life good enough for us any more?

Given that there's little any of us can do about the vast majority of these things, it's just depressing. We stare at the box in the corner of the room getting increasingly moribund, instead of turning it off and making the most of what we have.

The second change is an end to a great deal of antiques and auction programming, like Flog It! and Antiques Road Trip. These have been highly dangerous additions to the schedule because it feeds our false hopes. We don't have to think about our future, because we will stumble across an heirloom in the attic which will keep us in our old age - or at least send us to Florida for a holiday. It encourages us to live on hopes and dreams rather than making practical plans, so we while away our days watching daytime TV and expecting the future to look after itself.

Perhaps once the channel switches to repeats we can bring ourselves to turn the darn thing off and concentrate on working hard enough to earn a comfortable future for ourselves.

We may be right to weep and wail today, and bemoan the end of standards at the BBC. However, we have a great deal to be thankful for too.

But what do you think? Will you be able to go on without Flog It!? Let us know in the comments.

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