A Quick Rant

Can someone please explain why the BBC keep doing this? They have a published schedule of what programmes are on at what times on what channels, but they apparently think it’s quite in order to rip that up and jump on the bits at little to no notice for such utterly unpredictable events such as, get this, a game of tennis either starting late or taking longer than expected.

Now as this business of games of tennis taking far too long is a regular occurrence during the odd rain-making ritual known as “Wimbledon”, you’d think they’d allow for that, wouldn’t you? You’d think they might have a good look at what’s likely to happen and schedule their coverage accordingly, but apparently not.

Take this evening, for instance. BBC One had Wimbledon coverage scheduled from 12:10 to 17:40, with more or less normal programmes after that. BBC Two was supposed to take over at that point and carry on until 20:00, followed, would you believe it, by an hour of highlights.

Well, fair enough. I have no interest in tennis, but I know a lot of people do, so maybe nine hours on the main BBC channels is not excessive, though I do think taking over the single BBC HD channel for it is a little naughty.

But of course, they didn’t stick to that, did they? I turned over to BBC One to catch a bit of The Weakest Link before the final episode of Robin Hood only to find some people still hitting a ball backwards and forwards over a net. Why they just can’t decide where the ball belongs once and for all and leave it there, I can’t imagine, but never mind…

When this happens, you have to wait. Wait for them to either stop showing the sport stuff, or to put a caption on screen telling you what the photon they’re doing. Eventually, they announced that Anne Robinson would be torturing people on BBC Two, fifteen minutes after she was supposed to have started the job on BBC One. So I switched to BBC Two, but of course had to keep flicking back to BBC One to see if they were doing anything with the Arrows and Anachronisms show. Eventually, they thought it worth popping up a message confirming that it would be on BBC Two, where I watched it.

Now I understand that they want to continue coverage of a game that is no doubt important to people who care about such things, but as they were already planning to show tennis on BBC Two, why couldn’t they have continued their coverage there? Are they suggesting that people who like watching sport on TV can’t manage to switch channels when told to do so?

Who makes these decisions, anyway? And why is there this assumption that sport takes precedence over other programming? And this sort of thing would be a wee bit annoying to anyone who was expecting to record a programme to watch later, don’t you think? Not everyone has access to TV on demand to catch up later…