Ripped Off By The BBC?
Does The World’s Oldest Public Service Broadcaster Nick Ideas From Authors?
The BBC – the world’s oldest and biggest public service broadcaster – appears to have a serious ethics problem. That’s the devastating conclusion from this edition of The DEBRIEFER. How else could you explain the plight of bestselling author and screenwriter M.R. Hall, whose THE CORONER series of books bears a striking similarity to the BBC’s a new television series entitled – somewhat unimaginatively – THE CORONER.
Listeners to THE DEBRIEFER will be familiar with horrific accounts of rapacious Hollywood studios “borrowing” ideas from defenceless authors. The twist, this time, is that the allegations concern a public service broadcaster… not a commercial entity, but an organisation that is supposed to serve the public good. Service, not profit, is the motivator… or is supposed to be.
Troublingly, this case is not unique. One of our guests on Litopia After Dark, former British ambassador Craig Murray, believes his autobiography Murder in Samarkand was plagiarized for the BBC comedy The Ambassador. “The production company had actually invited me to their offices”, says Craig, “for a meeting to ask me to sell them the rights to Murder in Samarkand. I attended the meeting but I refused to sell them the rights. They went ahead and made the series anyway.”
This isn’t fair, it’s not cricket, and it isn’t in the spirit of public service broadcasting. Come on, BBC – show some leadership and get your house in order – while you still have a chance.