I’ve been looking forward to GOLD’s revival of Yes, Prime Minister ever since news of the show’s comeback first broke.
My excitement was amplified by a few scenes aired at a showcase held by GOLD’s owners, UKTV, last last year.
(That was also where I got to see the first episode of the revived and wonderfully done Red Dwarf X.)
Like many I’ve been wondering why the BBC aren’t screening the new series. According to a BBC News story:
“The new series of Yes, Prime Minister was made for a rival channel because the BBC asked its creators to make a pilot episode, it has emerged.”
I can well believe that the modern BBC asked two legendary comedy writers for a pilot – why trouble yourself with a revival of a major past hit when there’s shite like Don’t Scare The Hare, Pramface, Cuckoo and yet another ‘hidden camera’ show to make?
But it’s a bit much for the BBC to try and pass GOLD off as “a rival channel” when, through BBC Worldwide, it owns 50% of UKTV. And this isn’t the first time the BBC have failed to mention their interest in GOLD.
Far from missing out on the Yes, Prime Minister revival, the Beeb is likely to do very well by seeing the audiences for one of its commercial channels boosted and, very likely, an upsurge in ad revenue.
There’s also the small chance that 2entertain, another BBC subsidiary, will end up releasing the show on DVD just as it did Red Dwarf X. And of course it’s been paid by GOLD to produce the series for them.
If the BBC is going to have commercial interests then its news division needs to ensure the corporation’s involvement is clearly flagged up in stories about them. Otherwise it starts to a look a little bit like advertising masquerading as news…
UPDATE: A BBC spokesperson has confirmed that BBC Worldwide “will be handing the TV distribution rights and
DVD/Home Entertainment release” of the new episodes.
That ‘missing out’ is starting to look pretty fortunate after all.