I was shocked to learn, from a number of other blogs, that the BBC has cancelled Victorian crime drama Ripper Street, basically because it couldn't compete with I'm a Celebrity Get me out of Here in the ratings. Especially as I was about to start work on two of the North Star In Her Majesty's Name figures based on the actors from the show. There is an online petition you can sign but it will do no good, I'm afraid. Not because it hasn't had enough signatures, which it hasn't, but because that is not how the BBC works. It is a monolithic governmental organisation that is far from responsive to anything, and will, like government, never acknowledge its mistakes. My sister worked there for a couple of years as an external consultant and said it was the worst managed organisation she had ever come across. A friend of mine was a BBC producer (he is now a freelance) and despite being quite a lot more liberal (not to say a complete pinko) than the Legatus, said that he felt like a fascist. there. Odd then, that something as commercial as ratings now seems to hold sway over creative instincts.
The key issue is, of course, why the BBC feel that they have to chase ratings at all given that they do not (yet) take advertising. Shouldn't they just be making the best programmes they can? Of course, I suspect that Ripper Street was very expensive to make compared with bunging a lot of members of the public in a tent and getting them to bake scones.