Literary dinner with Sir Jeremy Issacs

ALISON CROOSE King's Lynn Town Hall (King's Lynn Festval)


King's Lynn Town Hall (King's Lynn Festval)

Sir Jeremy Isaacs, a veteran of television programming, revealed strong views about the state of television today.

The man who launched the ground-breaking Channel 4 in 1979 said there was now no distinction between the roles of television to inform and entertain.

“Information is being turned in to entertainment. Until that confusion is resolved we will continue to have trouble,” he said.

“What is depressing about television now is that it imitates itself. If one channel does a cookery programme a rival channel does two and we have a plethora of programmes about cookery, buying and improving houses and what to wear.”

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Sir Jeremy also criticised Big Brother as “contrived and manipulated”. He said: “Reality television doesn't exist.”

About the current crisis at the BBC he said: “What the BBC does well is worth hanging on to. But if additional profit is being made using telephone calls and competitions it is disgraceful. If it is done dishonestly people should be prosecuted.”

Sir Jeremy, who has written an account of television since 1958, and author Deborah Moggach were introduced by Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage.

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