Buerk: BBC Jubilee coverage was 'cringingly inept'


Reviewing the year gone by, the former newsreader writes in the Mail on Sunday that it left him "ashamed" of the company that has employed him for decades.

Referring to the way June's Thames river pageant was covered by the BBC, Buerk said: "The one enduring British institution was mocked by another that had shamefully lost its way.

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"Out on the water, a tribute to the monarch that resonated back to the Middle Ages, rich in historical continuities, a floating salute to past glory and present fortitude. On the screen, a succession of daytime airheads preened themselves, or gossiped with even more vacuous D-list 'celebrities'. With barely an exception, they were cringingly inept.

"Nobody knew anything and nobody cared. The main presenter couldn't even work out what to call the Queen.

"The Dunkirk Little Ships, the most evocative reminders of this country's bravest hour, were ignored so that a pneumatic bird-brain from Strictly Come Dancing could talk to transvestites in Battersea Park.

"I was so ashamed of the BBC, I would have wept if I hadn't been so angry."

The corporation received more than 2,400 complaints from the public about some of its live broadcasts over the weekend, with much of the blame being directed at George Entwistle, the then head of BBC Vision who went on to become director-general.

Referring to Mr Entwistle's short-lived tenure at the top of the corporation after resigning in the light of the Jimmy Savile scandal, Buerk went on: "The worst thing was that it was deliberate – planned that way to be 'light' and 'inclusive'.

"The BBC actually congratulated itself, and the executive ultimately responsible was promptly promoted to become the most disastrous director-general in the corporation's history."

The former Nine O'Clock News presenter went on to express his disdain for the state of the country in general.

"The truth is that the summer was an illusion. We are not a united kingdom, we are not 'all in this together'," he wrote.

"We are more divided with each passing year and a cultural elite at odds with the values of those outside its own self-referential inner circle is probably the least of our problems as we head towards 2013.

"We were lonelier than we have ever been this year. In our atomised society, eight million people now live on their own, marriage is still in decline and we have the highest proportion of single-parent families in Europe.

"By the time they're 15, only half our children are still living with both parents. Mum's out to work, grandparents are far away; kinship is history."

Referring to the state of the economy, he writes: "We are more unequal. For decades now, the gap between rich and poor has grown faster in Britain than in any other major country. The richest one per cent take nearly 15% of our total income.

"It didn't matter so much when nearly everybody was getting better off. But now, while most of us are being squeezed, senior executive pay soars and, even at the top of public service organisations such as the BBC, fortunes are flung at failures."

And he also hits out at the way the country is run.

"Celebrity culture may make a few talentless yobs famous, but the privately-educated increasingly control the commanding heights of British life," he wrote.

"Most of the Cabinet, of course, but many of Labour's senior figures, too."

The former 999 presenter has sparked controversy with his outspoken comments before.

In 2005 he hit the headlines when he complained that the "shift in the balance of power between the sexes" has gone too far.

He also said men had been reduced to "sperm donors" in the interview in the Radio Times magazine.



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