Cultural commentators rejoiced today as the shutdown of BBC Three led to the nation’s youth raiding bookshops for Dostoyevsky novels, signing up for violin lessons and donning tweeds to go and oil paint in the countryside.
“For a minute we thought young people might be annoyed at us closing the home of several BAFTA-winning comedies, and one of the few channels willing to take a chance on new comedy and innovative documentaries for a younger audience,” said Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC. “But then they just got hooked straight away on BBC Four! Yes, it turned out that young people just wanted to listen to Stravinsky and watch Jonathan Meades’ ‘A History Of Concrete’. Lucky!”
Earlier this week, Hall announced that either BBC Three or Four would be shut down as part of cutbacks, claiming that “£100m failed digital media initiatives don’t pay for themselves.”
“We could’ve shut down Radio 3, which would’ve saved £40m and has less than a quarter of the audience, but then the BBC would have had one fewer place for old people to listen to dead people’s music. We could’ve shut down BBC Four, which has fewer viewers, won fewer BAFTAs than BBC Three last year, and would’ve saved £50m, but that’d be one fewer place for old people to watch things that should’ve been on BBC2 anyway.”
“Young people have it too good anyway, if you ask me,” concluded Hall. “They’re probably busy doing all those jobs they have, re-decorating the cheap houses they’ve all probably got, or doing the degrees that they presumably still get paid to do.”
The target audience of BBC Four was said to be pleased with the outcome. “I’m delighted,” he said, in a plummy middle-aged voice from somewhere in the Chilterns. “I mean, I don’t actually watch TV most of the time, I keep it in a cabinet in the drawing room for whenever there’s a royal wedding or a Prom. But I hear Four does Shakespeare sometimes, and I’m scared of young people and minorities, so anything that makes me less likely to accidentally see them is fine.”
“BBC Three turned itself on once, and it had a show on that wasn’t aimed at me. So let it burn.”
“Of course”, he added, “even if they had disagreed, I probably would’ve made them change their mind, as I am every member of the government and also make up a surprising amount of the BBC. I am the Baby Boomers, and I can fuck up every aspect of your lives.”