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June 16, 2009

BBC hides ‘dark’ programmes

A High Court judge who is campaigning against what he regards as an “epidemic” of family breakdown has criticised the BBC for relegating a two-part documentary on the subject to a time when most viewers will be asleep.

In a speech to the Family Holiday Association tonight, Sir Paul Coleridge explained that he had been interviewed by the highly respected BBC journalist John Ware for two full-length programmes called “The Death of Respect”.

The programmes had been completed by the end of March and were due for transmission in the 9 pm slot. Sir Paul, who sits in the High Court Family Division as Mr Justice Coleridge, said he had asked Ware when they would be broadcast.

“Last week I discovered they are to be shown in mid July at the extraordinary time of 11.20 pm,” Sir Paul disclosed.

He had asked Ware and his producer if they could explain “this change of heart” about what the judge regarded as important programmes. “The only response I have had is that those in charge think that they are ‘too dark’.

“‘What,’ I enquired, ‘does “too dark” mean?’ The response was that they are not regarded as sufficiently positive or life-affirming or the kind of programmes which the BBC like to make nowadays.

“So we have a situation, it would seem, where the biggest and most highly regarded, publicly-funded opinion-former in the land regards these vitally important issues as ‘too dark’ to make a contribution to.”

This was “worrying,” Sir Paul concluded, though it might be a symptom of the wider problem. There was a “deep and abiding concern about the current state of health of the family in this country and a real wish to engage in debate about where we are and what needs to be done”.

It was indeed “dark, very dark, and sometimes disturbing”. But we would not throw any light on it if we refused to acknowledge it or to discuss it in a broad and sensible way.

Posted at June 16, 2009 09:00 PM