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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Blue Peter emails

Dear Mr. Montgomery,

Thank you for your reply, however your response is wholly inadequate and you have clearly failed to grasp the implication of my complaint.

Whilst it is appropriate for Blue Peter to report on Terminal 5 as it is a major infrastructure addition to this country, it is absolutely inappropriate to give such biased coverage. I can only imagine that the marketing and publicity department of BAA where delighted with the free advertising that you provided.

Not once in the article did you refer to the damage that Terminal 5 is doing to either the local or global environment. To suggest that the environmental damage that Terminal 5 is causing can be offset by solar powered cars or renewables as you have done in your response is complete nonsense. To further suggest that the situation is mitigated by having other Blue Peter programmes showing how to holiday in the UK is absurd. You need to imagine yourself in the shoes of our young people. On one hand they are given the message that runaway climate change is imminent and that their prospects are completely dire; on the other hand they have Blue Peter extolling the pleasure of flying. To unthinkingly deliver such a contradictory message to our young people is cruel breach of the trust that a programme like Blue Peter has with them.

A copy of this email will appear on my blog.


--- On Thu, 4/12/08, wrote:
From: Subject: BBC Complaints - Blue Peter [T2008112101B0S010Z4777502]To: kevin.lister@btopenworld.comDate: Thursday, 4 December, 2008, 2:46 PMDear Mr Lister

Thanks for your e-mail regarding 'Blue Peter'.

I understand you were unhappy to see the topic of Terminal 5 feature on theprogramme as you feel this was glorifying an industry which has done a tremendous amount of damage to our global environment.

The show decided to report on Terminal 5 because it's a significant addition to British infrastructure. In the past the show has reported on major British infrastructure such as the Channel Tunnel, St Pancras rail link and something as significant as terminal 5 is a valid subject.

The report was designed to show the inner workings of an airport, and as such concentrated on the activities in what is essentially a workplace. Our presenter engaged in tasks such as checking in passengers, following baggage reclaim and making PA announcements and not on the facts which overtly "glamorise" flying.

The report overall should be viewed in the context of the amount of 'Blue Peter' coverage which is incredibly environmentally-friendly. We had a Green Peter special last year which included tips around holidaying at home not flying and we have featured a solar powered car recently on the programme. We're also planning a whole special on renewable energy for next spring. I realise you may continue to feel that Terminal 5 should not have featured on the programme and please be assured I've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for taking the time to e-mail us.

Ross Montgomery
BBC Complaints