Howl of rage over BBC programme

London Evening Standard, 15 May 1979

A HOWL of rage has gone up among British farmers over BBC TV’s Brass Tacks film on their industry.

“I have just taken part in a nightmare,” wails British Farm Produce Council chairman Charles Jarvis in a letter to the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Jarvis says he and colleagues in “modern meat production” were “set up” by the BBC.

“The film included, in most doubtful taste, harrowing scenes shot in abattoirs and unashamedly used dramatic music to heighten the emotional effect upon the viewer.”

There was little time left to “balance” the horror of the musical abattoirs, he says.

“Auntie Beeb showed us that the quest for those damned viewing figures can turn her into a sour, cantankerous and spiteful old woman – a dangerous creature of whom the strongest and most righteous should beware.”

This, of course, is the oldest row on TV. Can good television ever really be “balanced.”

Naturally Mr Jarvis, who sees himself as a victim, thinks it can. And his protests are an invitation to those of similar mind, perhaps in the new government, to deal once and for all with this “dangerous creature.”

But would that be wise?

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