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Although slightly off-topic I think that the views expressed by Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey earlier this week are somewhat relevant to my research into the social value of public libraries. 

Bias at the BBC?

Spacey claims that the BBC has shown “unfair” bias towards West End musicals produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, failing to grant similar prime time exposure to other west end shows.  To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about how the BBC might be abusing its position as public broadcaster to promote “The Sound of Music”, “Joseph” and more recently “Oliver”, over other lower budget productions, such as those currently playing at the Old Vic Theatre.

But after reading Spacey’s comments it reminded me of something  Bob Usherwood observed in his brilliant book, “Equity and Excellence in the Public Library“:

“Like the BBC, public libraries also face competition from new technologies, commercial imperatives and, some would suggest, changing public attitudes” (Usherwood, 2007, p.3).

Unfair promotion? 

Similar to public libraries, the BBC as a public broadcaster, has a huge responsibility within our society to present a fair and balanced television schedule; and one that does not produce a weekly 90 minute ‘prime time’ platform to promote one specific musical over another. 

The BBC have fought back stating that “they have no commercial interest” in these musicals, but what about us…the ‘Great British Public’?  If we’re all stakeholders in the BBC where’s our share of Lloyd Webber and Cameron Macintosh’s ticket sales?   

Shame on the BBC for exploiting the trust of its viewers!

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