Won’t Someone Put “Horizon” Out Of Its Misery?

I know I’ve complained about the dumbing-down of the BBC’s Horizon before, but I keep on trying to watch it in the hope that its decline might be reversed. However, last night’s edition on the body clock seems to have been the nadir of a once great television series that had a mission to “educate, inform and entertain”*. I say “seems to have been”, because I confess I only lasted about five minutes before I turned it off in utter disgust at its crassness (flashy graphics, stupid ideas, loud music and a bad script). Luckily, someone who was paid to watch the whole thing, reports today that I was not wrong to do so. As Lucy Mangan says:

…the time has come for the BBC’s once-flagship science documentary series to be officially demoted, possibly to "weekend sailboat", more probably to "patched and ailing dinghy".

Frankly, I think it would be kinder, and more useful, to take it outside, shoot it, and boil the body down for glue.

* Lord Reith, the first Director-General of the BBC, famously summarised the purpose of the BBC in those words: “educate, inform and entertain”. It is perhaps telling that the BBC’s current mission statement reverses the order to be “entertain, inform and educate”. I can’t say I’m totally surprised as a result that Horizon is no longer worth watching.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to Won’t Someone Put “Horizon” Out Of Its Misery?

  1. Hi ! I am deeply saddened by the decline of the BBC documentaries. It used to be my go to source for great documentaries, but the dramatization and general americanization in the writing and directing has left me a bitter taste.

    Would you recommend an other documentary serie like horizon ? Nova maybe ? I’m really in search of a new home for documentaries.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      The BBC still make good documentaries, but they tend to hide them away on the BBC Four channel, I’m afraid.

      Horizon is still just a shadow of its former self. Occasionally there will be a good episode, and that is usually when a single scientist fronts an episode to deal with his or her work and the implications thereof.

      Other than Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, I don’t think I’ve seen other Nova documentaries, so I can’t say how they compare.

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