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What would we do without them?

Before a local concert of Beethoven symphonies, I asked a young 20 year old in my office if he liked Beethoven. His wonderfully mature and inexplicably worldly answer was: “not yet”. He knew, based only on statistics, and not on his current preferences, that it was highly likely he would come to enjoy the “classics”.

As I write this, on TV, in Hyde Park and in other community areas of the UK, we’re “celebrating” the Last Night of the Proms. This happens every year at the end of a series of concerts in the Albert Hall, London. [A very well supported and commercially successful series of concerts].  Would they exist without the BBC?  Would our highly and widely acclaimed Welsh, Scottish, Symphony, Youth etc. etc Orchestras exist without the BBC.

Tonight’s broadcasts will undoubtedly be considered a success, and I’m sure they will please an audience much wider than normal for the classics.  Isn’t that the point?

I’m sure the class argument will be made, and the pretentiousness of the performers, the performance and, indeed, the audience will be cited as an argument against the whole venture.

But, what would we do without them?

I’m referring to the Proms, but I really mean the BBC.

The BBC: the broadcaster of the Glastonbury Festival, T in the Park, Leeds & Reading, Radio 1, 6 Music etc., etc., …… Yes, … etc., etc.  Reflect on that word: “broadcaster”.

How many countries have so many varied national institutions sponsored, supported and subsequently flourished by a TV station. (Is that why the Eurovision Song Contest is so seriously revered and special abroad).

I work abroad a lot, and, trust me, one’s respect and appreciation of Auntie is hugely multiplied from other shores. To be honest, the radio is more than worth the licence fee on it’s own.

Enjoy, or scoff, or deride tonight’s events, but just stop for a moment and think what it’d be like without.

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