My Little Complaint to The BBC.


Book Reviewer
I recently made a complaint to the BBC regarding their "trouble at t' mill" "eee by gum" insulting style of news reporting on News and Current Affairs programmes covering the temporary relocation of Royal Ascot to York.

I sent the following message.

"I am concerned about the recent patronising and condescending way in which the BBC have reported, on both the radio and TV, the current 'Royal Ascot' racing at York.

I have been astounded at the tone of the reporting and the attitude that 'Up North' the people must be so pleased to to a chance for fashion and culture.

If you were to delete the words 'northern' 'Yorkshire' or 'York' from the reports and substitue a term such as 'India' 'Africa' or 'Dubai' you would find the BBC being accused of offensive descriminatory remarks.

I appreciate that 'up north' is a quaint backward concept suitable only for comedy shows as far as the Corporate BBC is concerned. I don't expect that this complaint will be treated seriously, that would be too much for an organisation that broadcasts such ignorant, arrogant and offensive material without consideration for the consequences.

It is as if the word 'descrimination' only applies to the chosens few that the BBC wish to suck up to."

After a couple of days I received the following response. If you read it it is very obviously a cut and paste "p1ss off" message.

Dear Mr MiB

Thank you for your e-mail.

We acknowledge that you feel the BBC discriminates against the North. We never set out to cause offence, but personal definitions of what is or is not offensive differ widely. The BBC has a responsibility to broadcast programmes that appeal to all sections of our audience. Comedy, drama and the arts will sometimes seek to question existing assumptions about taste. Where circumstances justify we may seek to challenge the audience's expectations in surprising and innovative ways. Our programme makers are expected to be aware of and respect the audiences diverse views on what causes offence.

We do find that viewers' and listeners opinions are an invaluable source of feedback for BBC programme makers. Styles and policies are continually being assessed and changed based on feedback from the general public. Your views have been registered and form part of our daily feedback to programme makers and BBC management. Comments such as yours help us plan future programmes.

Thank you for your comments.


Xxxx Xxxxx
BBC Information

Now, how the hell does this address bigotry in News reports.

I have now sent them another email, as follows.

Dear Xxxx,

Thank you for your reply, however, your response demonstrates that you have
completely missed the point of my comments.

The BBC has made a fine job of challenging the existing views through drama,
comedy and the arts; programmes such as Little Britain are to be ceommended
for dealing with social problems in a fresh and extremely amusing way.

My point however was nothing to do with drama, comedy and the arts, it was
to do with offensive, narrow minded and bigoted reporting on news and
current affairs programmes during the past ten days or so.

These broadcasters seem to have watched Last of The Summer Wine and assumed
that this once funny but now assinine trash reflect life "oop North."

I hope that I will now receive a response that deals with the issues raised
rather than what appeared to be a BBC cut and paste "we know better than you
Northern Monkeys" response.



Now, let's see if they stick to their "We are so right that God pays attention to us." attitude or whether they deal with the issue.

Watch this space.

You never know, you may get a different answer, but if you do it'll just be corporate grovelling.

I find your distain at comments of northern people a little strange though as I have found that a lot of people from what would be classed as from 'the north' are not backward in coming forward in ridiculing anything which is alien to their home environment, sometimes admitedly in jest, but often with honest hatered. There is the old saying... "If you can't take it, don't dish it out".

If people can sit there and call everyone in the BBC a 'southern poof', why can't they have a laugh and add a few comments about 'flat hats' and 'whipets'? I've seen a few in Yorkshire, bet you have too, so what's the problem?


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I agree with both comments above. There is an argument about BBC's treatment of anyone outside the London 'zone'.

I would, however, take great offence at both of you for considering yourselves as being from the 'north' when the best part of Britain starts NORTH of the boundary which delineates the inferior (southern) from the greater (northern). York - North ---- FFS there is still about 500 miles before reaching the 'northern' part of Britain.


Book Reviewer
It gets better, my next response from the BBC.

Thank you for contacting BBC Information. This email address inbox is no longer monitored; to contact us or reply to us you need to use one of our online forms. Please resend your message using one of the following options:

If you wish to comment or make an enquiry, please use our online form on our About the BBC website at This site also has answers to common questions about the BBC's programmes, policies and structure, information about the BBC's Governors and documents such as the Annual Report and other corporate publications.

If you have a complaint about a BBC programme or policy, please do so using our Complaints website at This explains how to complain about our programmes or policies, outlines our complaints process and also carries our responses to recent complaints.

So if they have not addressed your complaint in their cut and paste response then you have to make a new complaint rather than entering into a dialogue. This is going to be bizarre I feel.
At least you had a response. I emailed the BBC over their reporting of the last British casualty on Telic. Although I had an automated response stating that a detailed answer should follow within 7 days, (which shows it was received), they have so far remained silent.
I doubt whether you'll ever get the answer you want from the sods. I complained bitterly to them about their big chief's comment that the newsreading community was so disgustingly white; he wanted lots of colour there, apparently. Not for any valid social reason, just so that his organisation could boast about being diversely and mutlicutlurally cool, I think. Now all the news programmes from London look like they're being broadcast from Lagos.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I was in Lagos in 1957 and again in 1958 and I don't remember any broadcasts from there.

Mind you that might have something to do with no TV there then and the TV in UK was black and white (sorry - ethnically tinted and non PC coloured)
Good old stories about the Bassildon Broadcasting Corporation whose corporate horizons peter out at the M25. In a country the size of Britain how they can claim that moving some assets (the tea ladies' union) to Manchester is making the BBC more 'UK-inclusive' is beyond me.
In their defence....

On the Today programme this week, Peter Oborne was talking about Royal Ascot being moved to York, and he said something like 'Of course, it's very convenient, only two and a half hours away - ' at which point, John Humphrys interrupted him to point out that York is not two and a half hours away from, for example, York.

Generally, though, they are pretty Londonocentric.

I was talking to a friend who works there recently. She is in a middle-management role. Now, I loathe the BBC with a passion and we were arguing (amicably) about how better Britain would be if the TV tax were abolished and the entire BBC staff put to the sword.

During this exchange she mentioned the proposed move "Oop North" to Manchester of a large number of BBC personnel. She happily admitted that this was widely seen as a figleaf to guarantee the next charter review, after which the relocation (which is seen as a way to keep Neu Arbeit happy by making the BBC less "London-Centric") will be quietly shelved.

The relocation, on purely political grounds, is rumoured to cost (you and me) in excess of ten million for employee contractual reasons.

She also decried the "arrogant, incorrigibly leftist and elitist" attitude of BBC News staff who were being asked to consider their treatment of political issues in their stories. They just don't get it that they represent a very narrow, North London, utterly politically-correct POV.

"Institutional Liberalism" anyone?



Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Thanks V.

Nice to hear that the BBC is still a neutral, independant body, listening to its audience.

Ahhhh; and thay say irony is dead.
No! The BBC is quite right. York is exactly 2 1/2 hours from Bunhill Row.

However I don't have a TV licence or a TV - so f**k 'em.
Cumming from the Manchester area I wouldn't wish Manchester on anyone, except Mr. Glazeir, well done lad, you show that shower of sh1t who's boss.
As for the BEEB up narf, cum on, they couldn't afford the LOA.
That is fairly typical these days, to avoid having to deal with a real issue, make it difficult for 'the customer' to contact you. Having to sort through various web links, most of which are stupid "did this answer your concern" type, or make a post on a "discussion board" to be heard instead of an actual person manning an email address.

eBay does the same sort of routine, you can no longer simply mail "safeharbour" any more.
BBC's fashion correspondent (the one mincing around with the delightful Suzy Perry good to see her out of leathers and in a posh frock for a change) eventually got into the swing of things and was very complimentary to most of the northern ladies, and even told a tale of his slapping down for being a patronising southern git (ever so politely though of course) by the chamber maid in his hotel, he had wrongly assumed she was attending ladies day wearing some hideous Top Shop creation when in fact she was to be wearing a Chanel or some such skirt suit.

As an aside was at a barbie last night and one of the guests was relating a tale about a lady she works with being asked to cancel there weddig plans in a York hotel, refused (quite rightly) the hotel was very understanding and obviously said that would be no problem (quite rightly) a couple of days pass and they receive another letter from the hotel asking them that if they would like to make way for a Mr and Mrs Beckham then they woukd find a cheque for £150K winging its way to them in the post, they accepted (quite rightly, £150K to start married life mortgage free Thank you)



I can't see what the problem is. For most of the Northern monkeys and their slappers, who in the main kit out at Matalan, it was their first time in a suit or a posh frock (apart from when they appear at court of course). I would imagine that most of the attire was rented anyway.

As for their 'wye aye' or 'eh oop' accents, it's true so I can't see what you're all so upset about. You keep telling us of how proud you are of your accents and of the North, so why complain? I personally find the Lancashire accent grating, especially the really over the top ones from Bury or Accrington. You people need to get out of the 80's.........the 1880's.

When I served at Catterick, the local dialect wasn't so bad as most of the locals had bred with squaddies from all over the gaff, so most of the accents were diluted into a non regional squaddie brat accents apart from the 'Sweaties'.

Have a wander around parts of North and you'll see what I mean. Grey people with cheap clothes and a massive chip on their shoulder. York reckons it's some sort of 'place to be'.....bolllox, it's a tip. The town centre is OK if you like that sort of thing, but the rest of it is tosh. It's nothing special. Top tip......I would avoid Teeside, the whole place is a sh*tehole and as for Newcastle............. it's dire.

(Next week.......Biscuits visits the East Midlands).
You may have a valid point, maninblack. In any case, I like the letter. But I think you may be being a bit oversensitive (and I say that as a proud Yorkshireman). There is a great deal of novelty value in an event like this being moved from its home location. Wherever Ascot was temporarily moved to, the story was bound to focus on any cultural differences between Epsom and the new venue. Incidentally, I've lived in Epsom and near York and they are very different in character.

Besides, London is our Capital City and, like it or not, that is going to influence this sort of 'compare and contrast'-type story. I would hate England to go like Scotland has, where they have a very parochial brand of BBC News coverage. For example, Newsnight (never an England-centric programme) is cut into at 11pm by some 'Newsnight Scotland' guff, which usually drones on about the Scottish Parliament overspend inquiry or some other issue of equally earth-shattering importance.

For what it's worth, I happen to know the Controller of one of the 'big four' BBC Radio channels. She is a Geordie, with a very obvious Geordie accent. So, my personal experience is at odds with the view that all senior BBC management are Londoners or southerners.
zippy483 said:
As an aside was at a barbie last night and one of the guests was relating a tale about a lady she works with being asked to cancel there weddig plans in a York hotel, refused (quite rightly) the hotel was very understanding and obviously said that would be no problem (quite rightly) a couple of days pass and they receive another letter from the hotel asking them that if they would like to make way for a Mr and Mrs Beckham then they woukd find a cheque for £150K winging its way to them in the post, they accepted (quite rightly, £150K to start married life mortgage free Thank you)


Not accusing you of anything, Zippy, but I've heard that story too. Two or three times. About different people each time. Either that hotel was very busy that weekend, or it's become a bit of an urban myth.

No problem smithie, first time I'd heard it last night and as I say came from somebody who works with said wedding party (allegedly), having said that these urban myths do manage to get a bit of a life of their own on occasion.


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