Monday, 7 May 2012

Complaining about The 70s: BBC response

I recently wrote to the BBC to complain about the bias in their programme The 70s. This was the reply. It came from the Complaints department when I would really have liked to have heard from the producers.

"Thanks for contacting us about ‘The 70s’, broadcast on BBC Two.
I understand you feel the programme afforded bias against the Labour Party and trade unions.
‘The 70s’ presented by historian Dominic Sandbrook, looked at the closing years of the 70s in Britain. It is not always possible or practical to reflect all the different opinions on a subject within individual programmes like ‘The 70s’. Editors are charged to ensure that over a reasonable period they reflect the range of significant views, opinions and trends in their subject area. The BBC does not seek to denigrate any view, nor to promote any view. It seeks rather to identify all significant views, and to test them rigorously and fairly on behalf of the audience.
Senior editorial staff, the Executive Committee and the BBC Trust keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained.
However, I appreciate your frustration with the impartiality and stadard of the programme and so please be assured we appreciate your feedback on this, and therefore we have registered your comments on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's made available to many BBC staff, including the producers of the programme, channel controllers and other senior managers.
The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content. They help us understand what is or is not acceptable to viewers in general.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us."


  1. But the series looked at the whole of the 70s, and the first programme in particular which really denigrated the struggle of the unions, covered the years up to 73. Is this the programme you complained about?

    1. Hi Chris, I complained about the series in general. I felt the anti-union bias was a theme throughout.

  2. I know from experience that the Complaints team will probably have forwarded your comments to either the executive producer or series producer of the programmes in question. They might have prepared a generic response. But most producers never agree with criticism - unless something is factually inaccurate, in which case they should acknowledge it. I usually do and, if possible, will try to make a correction so that future screenings will not draw similar complaints.