I have long considered the BBC to be an undemocratic and agenda driven monopoly that has become extremely skilled at hiding some of its real intent behind slick production, and clever writing/editing.
At its heart, as we all know, it is politically biased and unashamedly plays its favourites, allocating far too much time to the Jones, Mandlesons, Toynbees etc of the world to the exclusion of many social and political thinkers that would offer a far more balanced and erudite view of things.
Political reporting and comment is one thing however, the use of drama as a political and social engineering tool is quite another.
The recent series of Happy Valley demonstrates this cleverness quite well.
Taken at face value it is a gritty police drama set in a “deprived” part of semi rural West Yorkshire, some of the acting is extremely good and the story lines, mixing the comically criminal with the truly evil probably depict, albeit in microcosm, the types of things that the police have to deal with on a daily basis.
But, look a little deeper and you will see that this series, written by a woman and with strong female characters actually promotes a very different and far from subtle agenda.
All the women are both strong and forthright with a human vulnerable side, or victims who have overcome trauma and tribulation or both.
On the other hand the men in the series are depicted as either feckless, sexually profligate, downright evil or a combination of the three.
Sarah Lancashire, the star of the series, plays a police sergeant, a single mother bringing up a grandchild who is the son of a psychopath. She is portrayed as a flawed but essentially honest and reliable woman, betrayed by her husband and bemused by her eldest son who, needless to say is living at home after having an affair.
This character is surrounded by females who have triumphed over adversity or who are “victims” of men be they philanderers, drug dealers, pimps, rapists or simply stupid and unthinking.
The policemen in the show are depicted as misogynistic, stupid or both.
A woman who kills her own son, who just happens to be the product of an incestuous relationship, is depicted clearly as nothing more than another victim of male abuse and so it goes on.
Not one man who is in the show for more than a bit part is portrayed as having any redeeming features.
The other thing that is striking, for an organisation which has a supposedly limitless pool of talent is the fact that the female actors playing the bigger roles are obviously sourced from a small group, no doubt a group that has the same views as the writer.