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Smallscreen

Public service broadcasting's last hope

By David Herman   February 2004

Most television critics write as if it’s business as usual. It really is not. The crisis in public service broadcasting (PSB) is deepening. ITV is shaking off its obligation to show arts, religious and current affairs programmes. Channel 4’s audience share has fallen below 10 per cent for the first time in 12 years, putting it under enormous pressure to go further downmarket. But the big crisis is at the BBC, which is using the little-watched BBC4 as a dumping ground for minority programmes, and which cannot be trusted to reform itself. This leaves only two possible saviours for PSB.

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