So I just got out of breakfast with Lord Patten of Barnes, chairman of the BBC Trust. Aside from heading up the BBC, Lord Patten currently serves as the chancellor of Oxford University and was the last governor of Hong Kong. A couple of interesting points from breakfast:
–Lord Patten’s favorite shows on the BBC are “2012” and “Mrs. Brown’s Boys” for comedy and “The Hour” for drama. Yes, “Mrs. Brown’s Boys” — and he says it is because of the show’s bawdy humor, specifically the use of the f-word.
–Lord Patten said the BBC has HUGE plans for the Olympics broadcast this summer in terms of digital platforms — he thinks the Olympics and the upcoming Diamond Jubilee will do for these new forms of digital media what the Coronation did for television more than 50 years ago.
–He also mentioned some digital service that may be launched in the future that will allow customers to watch programming in all of the BBC’s back catalogue, not just recently-broadcast programming.
–In the search for the new director-general of the BBC, Lord Patten said internationalization is key because the BBC is a worldwide property in terms of viewership. However, he said this was just one aspect they will be looking for in job candidates — editorial experience and understanding of the British media are equally as crucial.
–As for imported American shows, Lord Patten named three as of importance (I’m unclear as to whether he meant they were important to the BBC, or he just enjoyed them). They are, in no particular order, “The Wire,” “The West Wing,” and “Mad Men.”
–Finally, Lord Patten is not a “Downton Abbey” fan — he thinks it is too much of a soap opera. His wive, however, did say she enjoyed the first series. He also made a “Drownton Abbey” joke in reference to the Titanic series, which he noted was a major failure.