Tuesday, 9 November 2010

S4C future does no lie in English language programmes.

The recent YouGov poll, commissioned by S4C programme Y Byd ar Bedwar , found 53% agreed the channel should show English programmes, with 18% disagreeing and the rest not expressing a view. Welsh speakers were more evenly split, with 36% backing English-language programmes on S4C and 35% against.

However this do show why people would want English language programme on S4C.

  • They may think that this this only way S4C could survive.
  • They may be fed up with the piss poor Welsh productions of Independent TV companies and the haphazard way BBC covers Wales.

Labour MP Chris Bryant said: “I want S4C to serve all of Wales, not just part of Wales.”
But the poll did not ask as far as I know “would you like more programmes with a Welsh context onS4C but simplerly more programmes in English".

However those of us who can remember what Welsh Language programmes were like before the creation of S4C (and I suspect neither Chris Bryant or Peter Black ,who expresses similar views do) know what it was like 
 Programmes (what there were) scattered all over the schedule, and often in the afternoon or very late at night. and when they were shown English speakers complining thet could not watch their shows.

If English language programmes were to be included on S4C, how long before demands were made that should take up the prime-time spots?

I have argued  here  that f we need to increasase S4C's audience by attracting  Non-Welsh speakers to S4C then they should look at European productions and subtitle them in Welsh and English.

In the meantime Synidau points out the problems of existing English Language programmes on the BBC which relate to Wales and this would be multiplied if S4C was to fail but in a digital age but why do we have this problem?

I for one believe that when we only had five or six terrestrial channels that this always one programme that I wished to watch . Now with freeview there numerous channels there is all to often not one programme of quality I would wish to see. More choice seems to have left me with no choice.

If the future of S4C and its quality are to be discussed why single it out ? Can it be that this is merely an excuse for those who are opposed to the Welsh language to attack it through cutting S4C funding so that it becomes increasingly lees viable so they can abolish it all together.

The spurious call for the likes of Chris Bryant for English language programmes on S4C is an attempt to use a valid argument about English Language broadcasting  about Wales.Is just attempt to attack the Welsh Language, which they see as furthering Nationalism.Of course in reality they would be quite content that monoglot English speakers in Wales remained ignorant of Wales . They most certainly would not like to see a series like Pen Taler now showing on S4C or any series that gave the impression Wales was not anything but a subordinate part of the British State.
The future of Broadcasting in Wales is to vital for those who wish to divide Wales and its people (whatever Language they use) to win through.


  1. The obvious longer-term solution is to use S4C2 a a parallel English-language channel for Wales, with a distinct management from S4C1. Intriguingly, the IWA have proposed a re-balancing of the BBC licence fee and redirecting something in the region of £40 million p.a. to BBC Wales to promote a decent English-language service for Wales. Given the problems of accommodating a potential increase in Wales-specific content within BBC1 and BBC2 schedules, a possible S4C2 would be an appropriate place for showing some of this.
    More generally,a possible model for the future of Welsh broadcasting is to be found in the Basque Country (which has a similar linguistic demography to Wales)where EiTB began in the early 80s as a standalone Basque-language channel and has since evolved into a diverse family of channels, themed both linguistically ( Basque, Spanish and mixed) and in terms of content (general, news, children's programming etc.).

  2. I must find myself mostly in agreement. I don't think S4C2 really shows much potential and perhaps could be developed as you suggest. However we must also ask how many freeview channel slots are still available to be used and why we in Wales do not receive Virgin 1 in the evenings and CITV at all. I do not accept that this because of S4C's exsistance which should in anyway be available throughout the UK on freeview so the Welsh diaspora can watch or anybody for that matter. I have a friend who watches Clwb Rugby via satellite in a pub London and is often joined by Irish ans Scottish fans but the licensing authorities are still trying to sell slots to commercial ventures.