Why the BBC is wrong to cut the short story

As more and more people come to appreciate the short story, the BBC decides to reduce its output to one story a week. This is a poor decision in itself, but what does the BBC plan to replace this with? More news and current affairs? More, really?

 

How much more news can we bear? Do we really need another 15 mins of talking heads and pointless conjecture to fill an absence of available facts? The BBC has so many news outlets that I fear for Robert Peston who must spend all his time shuttling breathlessly between studios. Is there a license payer out there out there that believes genuinely that the BBC needs yet more news? Nor do we need programmes such as Money Box Live to be longer still. How many times can people with any degree of intelligence be told to shop around for the best bargains and to check the small print?

 

It is so disappointing that the BBC seems totally incapable of recognising the immense richness and value of its short story output. On her appointment, John Plunkett described Gwyneth Williams in the Guardian as ‘a safe pair of hands on a delicate treasure.’  It is a beautiful phrase, worthy of inclusion in a short story perhaps, but its confidence seems sadly to have been misplaced.

 

Could we not do more with the treasure of the short story format than to merely choke the life out of it?   We celebrate the novel yet the short story requires both an elegance and economy in words that makes it stand out in its own right and it is the ideal format for radio and our digital age. It seems incredible that the BBC would choose to abandon the short story at a time when it has never been more popular or relevant.

%d bloggers like this: