IAN HART Archaic laws and the BBC

THE archaic laws of this country were again highlighted last week when actor Michael Le Vell, alias Corrie’s favourite mechanic Kevin Webster, found himself in the unwelcome media spotlight.

How is it that an individual can go to a police station and make a serious allegation whilst retaining their anonymity, whilst the accused, still apparently innocent until proven guilty and not yet even charged, is immediately named?

Even in these enlightened times, there are still subjects that are immediately taboo with society and child abuse is one.

The opening salvo from the Sun, later joined by other papers, was to splash the news of his arrest across the front page, the following day we had the specific allegation, perhaps the most serious outside murder.

To re-iterate, until convicted by a court, Le Vell is innocent. Should any innocent person have to be subjected to such public scrutiny?

The problem is mud sticks. I firmly believe he will be totally exonerated, whilst, ironically, his accuser will retain her anonymity forever, but whilst people can go on about yesterday’s news and chip papers, there will always be someone somewhere who will remind Le Vell and family and friends of the Sun front pages.

l The BBC is a national institution and a constant in all of our lives, but with the proposed cuts, is that all about to change?

Is the problem really that the corporation is stuck in the dark ages?

Time was when we all as families and individuals watched BBC religiously, not only because of the quality programming but because there were only three channels.

Christmas Night 1977, outside Royal weddings and funerals, was the most watched night of BBC TV, with Larry Grayson, Mike Yarwood and Morecambe and Wise attracting over half the nation to watch their shows. But those days are gone, and will never return. Yet we still have the licence fee and they still have a sizeable budget as a result of it.

At its best, the Beeb still churns out quality drama, live sport and superb comedy and light entertainment, the problem is it can get lost among the dross it also puts out.

If the cuts can get rid of the deadwood and they can have a tighter entity which in turn can put out more quality shows, it will be a good thing. Licence payers want to see a return on their money, and that means better programming, including decent sports coverage.

Anyone who wants to see the Beeb disbanded and disappear has to be careful what they wish for. Despite its issues and problems it remains something we should have national pride in, hopefully good housekeeping and some ambition at various levels will see an upturn for the once great organisation.