Friday, November 11, 2011

Anti-Bullying Week 2011 begins in three days, on 14th November. The theme this year is Stop and think – words can hurt

A major exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's paintings opened this week at the National Gallery in London. The exhibition runs until early February which, in the UK, is LGBT History Month.

Perhaps the London exhibition is one of the reasons why the BBC decided to repeat its fantasy adventure series about the life of the young da Vinci. The first episode will be broadcast on the CBBC Channel this afternoon at 1.40pm - though exactly why BBC is still using licence payers' money to broadcast children's programmes during the day in school term-time escapes me. How many are actually watching, I wonder.

The BBC Mission is to enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain. There's no denying that CBBC's Leonardo is entertainment - and to be fair it is often quite enjoyable entertainment. But as for the mission aim to inform and educate, I'm afraid the Corporation fails badly. The drama is packed with misinformation about the painter, inventor and all-round genius.

Here is an example. Leonardo is set in 1467 when the eponymous hero would have been 15 years old. But in one episode he's seen in competition with Michelangelo. The fact that Michelangelo wasn't even born until 1475 doesn't seem to bother the writers of this drama series. Incidentally Michelangelo, unlike Leonardo himself, is portrayed as somewhat effeminate. And this brings me to the last point - BBC Values.

One of the BBC's Values is to "respect each other and celebrate our diversity." But if that really is a BBC Value, I think we need to know why the BBC decided to have Leonardo fancying the opposite sex. This distortion of the truth doesn't sound much like a celebration of diversity to me. In fact it seems to be a very good example of disrespect. See blog on 28 July 2011.

If I worked at the BBC I'd ask for an apology.

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