Tuesday, 17 May 2016

BBC Recipes

From the BBC

The BBC Food website carrying more than 11,000 recipes is to close as part of a plan to cut £15m from the corporation's online budget, a BBC source has said.

All existing recipes are likely to be archived, though whether some could move to the commercial BBC Good Food website is still to be decided. TV show recipes will be posted online but only made available for 30 days.

The BBC source said online services had to be "high-quality, distinctive, and offer genuine public value".

Which is why this makes sense. There are plenty of sources for recipes out there: food.com, epicurious, Martha Stewart, food network, all recipes, Delia Smith, netmums, cbc, as well as bloggers and food companies and supermarkets giving recipes away. There's nothing distinctive about the BBC's recipes, nothing superior about them.

And they might look free, but they aren't. They're free at the point of access. You don't directly pay for them. But your license fee is, and anyone who wants to watch live TV is forced to pay for a license fee, regardless of whether they then use BBC services. We don't force people who read the Guardian to pay for the Daily Mail. We respect that there are market choices. Now, there are things that count as public service TV - things that the market won't provide. We might include things like parliamentary broadcasting, or CBeebies, but it's clear that the market will provide recipes for creme brulee or coq au vin, so we don't need to have the BBC doing it. We can allow people to choose who provides it.


Lola said...

"We can allow people to choose who provides it. 'Allow'? Eh. We are free to do what we want. The line would be said as 'We must not prevent people form making their own choice', or something like that.

Of course, I fully agree with the sentiment of the post.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I mainly use bbc good food, which carries advertisements. But does this pay for itself or is it subsidised by the TVs licence?

Rich Tee said...

At the time of writing, this story is the BBC News front page headline. What a weird time we're living in.

DBC Reed said...

Weird time? Not really : anything in the public sector is under attack.Everything in the private sector is absolutely marvellous. Strange for a website that advocates a massive intervention in the private land market and state redistribution.

The Stigler said...


BBC Good Food is part of the enterprises bit and I think makes a little money from the ads.

Rich Tee,

Interesting times ahead for the BBC. Basically, you've got a lot of noisy middle-class people that utterly love the BBC, and a lot of quiet people, probably most people, who don't care, but who vote for the sort of governments that will lower the license fee.

Me, I'd like it dramatically scaled back. Basically, get rid of all the entertainment side. Maybe leave the news and history stuff, perhaps a bit of the sort of stuff on BBC4.

The Stigler said...


It's recipes. There's a gazillion books in charity shops out there, freebies in supermarkets, and a whole load of stuff online. I've got things written down by my mother, things in my head. It's absolutely not public service broadcasting in a sense that people need to be threatened with violence to fund it.

It's not even that these are much cop. Delia Smith cared about her recipes being easy to do and reliable, but most BBC cookery is more just a lifestyle show.

DBC Reed said...

"Threatened with violence" Give over.If I removed all the cookery recipes from poncey right-wing newspapers esp those run by Murdoch and paid for what's left, I would be threatened with violence.
Of course, BBC cookery is a lifestyle show.Nearly all daytime television is house price porn. Cookery programmes on TV are also adverts for kitchen make-overs.Remember the Laura Ashley craze?(Perhaps you're too young).

Lola said...

DBCR "Give over. If I removed all the cookery recipes from poncey right-wing newspapers esp. those run by Murdoch and paid for what's left, I would be threatened with violence. Eh?

Not just 'House Price Porn' but also 'Food Porn'...(Or car Porn - Wheeler Dealers, or Ephemera Porn - Salvage Hunters, 'War Porn' - The Nazis. A Warning From History'; etc. etc.)

The Stigler said...


""Threatened with violence" Give over."

If you watch any TV, you have to pay for a TV license. If you don't pay, you'll be fined. If you don't pay the fine, you'll be threatened with jail and have to appear in court. If you don't turn up, police will come and forcibly take you to court and you will, if you continue not to pay, go to jail. You will be taken, against your will, to jail. Hence, violence.

Rich Tee said...

@DBC Reed: "Nearly all daytime television is house price porn"

Yes, the BBC makes Homes Under the Hammer, a programme that promotes property speculation by landlords! Thankfully I understand that this is one programme that is likely to get cancelled.

Wheeler Dealers the car renovation programme isn't made by the BBC, and I've always enjoyed it myself, although Discovery Channel has taken to showing episodes that are ten years old that I have already seen on free-to-air channels.

The Stigler said...


Is Wheeler Dealers the one where he does the car up and sells it? I quite like that one. You always have to take any of this stuff with a pinch of salt, though. People always seem to find Arks of the Covenant in Storage Hunters.

Then again, some friends of mine in the trade claim the valuations on Antiques Roadshow are hugely inflated to make it look good.

Lola said...

RT / TS Indeed WD isn't made by the BBC - it's still car porn though. And yes, I quite like it too. Or even better, 'Factory Porn' - How It's Made'. Ooooooooaaaaagghhhhh.

The Stigler said...


How It's Made is wonderful TV to go off to sleep to. It's very gentle, almost hypnotic. I don't mean that in a bad way.

I like Megastructures too.

Lola said...

TS What a sad lot we are...

The Stigler said...


Have I mentioned The Martian? Have you read it? Sounds like your sort of book.

Lola said...

TS No. And no time at present. Might watch the film tho'.

DBC Reed said...

Your detailed depiction of getting fined for not having a TV licence as violence is just neoliberal/anarchist moaning about being punished for breaking the law.You are obliged by law to get a MOT for a car and have motor insurance.You are obliged by tax law to contribute to the maintenance of the roads.This is just as much a violent intrusion into your personal liberty, envisaged as living in the Wild West settling disagreements with six guns apparently, as having to have a TV licence.Likewise you have to pay for an education system you may never use.You pay for a hefty bureaucracy of quite heavy handed health inspectors to make sure if you go to a restaurant you don't die from lack of food hygiene .Lola would probably say this is a matter of Caveat Emptor: if you die by food poisoning you won't go there again.(He does think Caveat Emptor applies when dealing with
sophisticated financial products only a specialist can understand on the understanding that those selling the products have no professional standards : to do no harm at their most basic.)
There was in this country quite a smart intermingling of private sector/public sector activity with political arguments about the balance.Now we have a jihadi situation where rich anarchists and their useful idiot supporters are trying to remove whole strands from the carpet.

Dinero said...

Thirty years ago the TV license gave you the access to watch any TV production broadcast in the UK. Now it only gives you access to a fraction of the output of the TV industry. So arguably it is not as good value as it used to be.

From the flow of the funding, unless the BBC gives programs to Dave for free, the BBC has an income from a channel that carries adverts. ie . " Dave."

What about the BBC programs that are now on pay channels, are they gone exclusively.

Lola said...

DBCR Your analogy between the Telly Tax and other taxes is flawed. The other taxes you cite are user charges for some things that are (possibly) best done by government - upkeep and improvement of the Queen's Highway for example. There is no justification for a Telly User Charge as the infrastructure for broadcasting can easily be provided by private business.

Furthermore I do not necessarily agree with compulsory MOT tests. As long as people are held properly responsible for their actions insurers will provide a market pricing for good v bad motorists (as to maintenance). Clearly the Law must be used to guide and sanction the reckless on the basis that it is irresponsible or at least worst thoughtless, behaviour.

In regards to complex financial products CE is appropriate as it signals to you that you might be better off taking advise before buying CFP from a bank, say. In any event CFP's are mostly the product of various bits of government and bureaucratic failure. I know this. It's my business.

I also have my doubts as to how much actual good food regulations actually achieve.

Pablo said...

Wheeler Dealers have no conception of wages. The lil fat one goes off + buys a car and the tall one + his mate work on it for a thousand hours, thn they sell it + make 500 quid "profit".

Dinero said...

If your self employed working on a car at your own pace in your own garage, no traveling, £500 profit for 2 weeks work is just about worth it.

Mark Wadsworth said...

P, that's what everybody who watches WD says (unless they are really stupid). Still great car porn though.

The Stigler said...

DBC Reed,

"You are obliged by law to get a MOT for a car and have motor insurance.You are obliged by tax law to contribute to the maintenance of the roads.This is just as much a violent intrusion into your personal liberty, envisaged as living in the Wild West settling disagreements with six guns apparently, as having to have a TV licence."

Yes, yes it is. Tax is collected under threat of violence. The difference is that there is at least a reasonable moral justification for having an MOT on a car, which is that you can seriously injure others with a poorly maintained car. That's not exactly celebrity dance shows, is it? The idea that people can go to prison for watching one bit of light entertainment while not paying for another bit of light entertainment is completely unjustified and it baffles me how anyone can defend it.

Dinero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dinero said...

I don't see a problem with the "wages" aspect, rather than 1000 hours they spend around 70 hours on the restoration part and make around £1000 on the project which is reasonably advantageous.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, we don't know about the true cash profit, what their garage overheads are* and how many hours Edd spends on doing them up and Dave spends sourcing and selling. But from the looks of it, they earn about £10 - £20/hour each on average.

* Or indeed how much they spend on the obligatory test run/road trip.

The Stigler said...


The film of The Martian is good, entertaining stuff, but the book is some serious nerd material that goes into a lot of detail about how he does things. About every geek I know loves it.

Steven_L said...

But did you see the one where some fool sold him a Porsche Boxster for £1k that just needed the oil changing on the gearbox? Now that was a genuine bargain. Most of what they buy is just rot for hobbyists.

Lola said...

TS SL etc. Wheeler Dealers

My favourite was the farmer who sold them a Porsche 914 for a not bad price. Let them do all the work and then buy it back at MB's full asking price without haggling. From my own experience in historic racing I can tell you categorically that the farmer got the best deal out of that.

DBC Reed said...

If I may interrupt the noodling about third-rate TV shows and get back to the subject, which would appear to be "Why am I compelled to pay for BBC recipes when the private sector can be paid to provide them?" One: the argument is over , the recipes will remain on the BBC site after popular protest.Two: Libraries. We have to pay for public libraries which even I don't use to borrow books as originally intended, preferring to buy them. However I visit the Library at least once a week to read magazines which aren't consistent enough to buy regularly eg New Statesman, Private Eye, Economist etc and to look at the whole lot of notices of local events and public services. The place is packed with black kids after school doing their homework or copying their mates' work.A goodly number of older people borrow books. There appears to be provision for very young kids to muck about in a vaguely educational manner (which I disapprove of).None of these services is provided by the private sector, nor is likely to in the shopping centre concerned, where rents are extortionate and monopolistic.
A justification for public provision is that the private sector alternatives are unaffordable which we see in spades with housing, which in turn makes all the other private sector provision unaffordable.Why are the pubs empty? Why have all the pubs on my Scouse mate's public-sector estate closed down? Why has one of my locals on a private estate been turned into a mosque?(I kid you not).

Lola said...

DBCR. So. You're being subsidised by everyone else then? Our point I think.

DBC Reed said...

Yes lets be free of these subsidised services and run everything on strictly commercial lines .Just like in the USA where a leg fracture will cost you £90,000 and put you into bankruptcy. Libraries: who need them? We've got airports and bus stations to supply our literature.
Funnily enough, the Americans seems to be in open revolt against the whole system .

Kj said...

"TV show recipes will be posted online but only made available for 30 days."


You are really scraping the barrel here TS. Ofcourse recipes would be provided otherwise, but I just don't see this as a big savings vehicle. It's basically an archive-service, keeping which I have no problem with a public entity doing as far as it doesn't really cost shit in the bigger picture. Why do public sector managers always suggest cutting the really cheap, public service stuff and leave big ticket items alone?

Bayard said...

"Why do public sector managers always suggest cutting the really cheap, public service stuff and leave big ticket items alone?"

Because they can be seen to be doing something, whilst not upsetting the sort of people who would be upset by cutting the big ticket items. The Tories in local government got this down to a fine art years ago.