BBC Cult Site -> Wormfood

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 27 June 2005

I still remember my first serious appraisal with the person who hired me into the BBC - I'd been there three months. "Where do you see yourself being in the BBC?" they asked - "I want to run the Cult TV site" I said.

So yet another ambition crashes and burns with the announcement last week that "as part of the restructuring of the BBC's online activities" the Cult TV site is to close.

We'd like to thank all our users (700,000 of you last month!), and to everyone who expressed an opinion of us in the BBC's Online Audience survey (we nearly came top - beaten only by those pesky News people).

The punters are not amused:

Gruff
So, for the first time in those six years, the BBC finally makes quality cult telly in the form of Doctor Who and then junks the site that did its bit in helping to keep the series alive ... That would sound so unfair if it made less sense. Thanks for the webcasts and the audios and the fiction and the news and the comfort zone in the barren reality years of telly. You'll be back, mark my words.

Doug
Yet another consquence of that stupid report by the government a year or so ago. Its a great shame the BBC has lost its bottle and won't stand up for itself anymore.

Daryl Millar
I took part in that survey and deliberately voted this my favourite BBC site as I didn't want it to go. I am SO glad that the BBC conducts these surveys and shows how much they listen by axing the second-most appreciated website that they have.

Leigh
That is bang out of order. Can someone remind why I pay my flaming tv license.

Ross Brown
Can't the BBC license the content to another web site or web sites to allow the stuff to stay maintained? And then the cult section could simply provide links to all these "fan" sites. I'll even provide the hosting and domains if you need them! License the stuff under a Creative Commons licence or similar - isn't this similar to the BBC plans to license some of its content?

neil wykes
it's so sad that those sections of the BBC that do too well have to be culled to give the competition a chance. What competition?!

Allan Bishop
Only the Beeb could take a well-used, and presumably appreciated, site and decide to close it down. And only in the UK would they be doing it on the basis of an official recommendation. This site helps the public, it helps DVD sales. It's entertaining! Sometimes I just want to emigrate.

Kevin Cupit
Shame on you BBC, yet again your request for the increase in license is granted yet you keep taking more of the services away. 700,000 "viewers", thats more than BBC 4 gets isn't it yet that still remains on air!!!!! Following your strike last month I think it about time your viewers did the same STOP PAYING FOR YOUR LICENSE, see how far you go then???

Trinity
Restructure THIS!

It is such a shame, as it is a well appreciated site. With their Doctor Who work (full-sized splash flash pages, non-bbc.co.uk spin-off sites, the first BBC animated drama webcast and then a whole series of others, and re-producing out of print Doctor Who novels as e-books) and Ghosts of Albion they really pushed what bbc.co.uk does online. Plus streaming the Big Finish 2000 A.D audios. And having a whole comics mini-site. And a Vampires section with new fiction.

You can also watch a video of the opening sequence of the much derided K9 and Company, and what other site is going to provide that legally!

What worries me most is this part of the announcement:

We're trying to find alternative bbc.co.uk homes for some sites, but much of the content will be removed from the servers, and that which remains will not be maintained. [my emphasis]

Gah! Server storage is cheap. Bandwidth is cheap at the BBC. The reason we have a global template system is so things don't break if they are left alone. Don't delete things off the servers. Make sure Information & Archives have copies. Bloody hell, I'd host it all here if it needed it. (Note to self: flat copies of course, don't think I'd want to start monkeying with putting our templates on this server. Plus that nice bloke Ross Brown already offered to do it anyway.)

4 Comments

Nooooooo!! I don't believe it. I'm plugging my ears and shutting my eyes, as the senior management appear to be doing...

I see I'm not the only one to have wanted to go off and run the Cult site then.

When I first started here all those eons ago (well 2000), when work was content, content, content and not applications and whatnot, it was the one place I could see myself wanting to move to.

It's a sad loss.

Looks like we got teh webarchive just in time... I&A now have every change to /cult from 4th June --> now

"The BBC Cult site will remain online for the time being, although there are no plans to update the content."
bbc.co.uk/cult

(bye bye Cult )

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