This needs saying, and it needs saying quite clearly. There is a problem. Potentially, it is a very big problem. It has the capacity to change utterly what we do, and in the process to betray the people we ought to be serving. Once people start believing we’re playing fast and loose with them routinely, we’ve had it.
I find it pretty hard to believe some of the television bosses when they say they had no idea what was going on. I know people who worked on ITV Play who told me the best part of a year before the scandal how bothered they were by what was happening. Whoever was responsible should be sacked.
It simply won’t wash for senior figures in the industry to blame our troubles on an influx of untrained young people: the ITV Alzheimer’s documentary and the trailer for the series about the Queen were made by a couple of the most venerable figures in the business.
The question we have to ask ourselves is, is there something rotten in the state of television, some systemic sickness, that renders it inherently dishonest?
25 August 2007
Jeremy Paxman On Trust And Television
Jeremy Paxman gave the MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival this year. As you'd expect, he didn't pull his punches.