Guest blogger: Your purchase supports original BBC programming

Sent to us by J. Frank Willis.

The postman trudged through the snow this morning and into my mailbox went the bills and a catalog.
I thought it was junk, the back of the catalog was what I saw first.
I turned it around, saw the cover, and it announced the BBC Canada Shop.
Yes you can now get all the top Brit DVDs in good old NTSC. No more bringing PAL home from London and playing them on a multi system TV player on a laptop.
The cover advertises four decades of Helen Mirren. Leaf through it and what do you see, Secret Agent, the pre-The Prisoner series with Patrick McGoohan (a childhood favourite) all way the up to the latest series from the Beeb. You can get the Beatles and Sherlock Holmes and absolutely everything on Dr. Who and Horace Rumpole.
And there’s the pride of the BBC Canada shop collection—DaVinci’s Inquest.
Yes, that’s right. The BBC is hawking and pushing in Canada the show that created the show that King Richard canceled.
There are lots of other BBC programs that have appeared on CBC, Planet Earth, the book and the DVD, Miss Marple and, oh yes, The Tudors.

Is the CBC Shop sending out a catalog across the country to let the people of Canada know what is available? Of course not. There’s only a badly designed, hard to use and harder to find website.

King Richard can’t run a public broadcaster. King Richard wants to run the CBC like a private sector company.
Now we know that Richard can’t even do that. The BBC is a public broadcaster competing in the private sector and to use the old gangster terminology “took over Richard’s northside territory.”
Hey Richard, do you have any idea how many Canadian homes received that catalog in the mail this week?
The Beeb just took a lot of that juicy extra money from CBC shop sales (unless you want a CBC hat, of course).
Maybe King Richard should outsource Hockey Night in Canada merchandise to the BBC.
They’d do a better job of selling it. And that means Richard could kick more employees out of the building.

The catalog says: “Your purchase supports original BBC programming. BBC Canada Shop is a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC. All profits from our website and catalog support the BBC’s mission to enrich people’s lives through innovative programs and services that inform, educate and entertain.”

Hope you’re reading this blog Hubert and are asking questions about how King Richard is running the CBC.
What are we doing Hubert “to enrich people’s lives through innovative programs and services that inform, educate and entertain?” Reality television (oh I’m sorry, factual entertainment).
And Mr. President if you want one of those DVDs go to


  1. Graeme
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 10:25 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It gets even better… DaVinci’s Inquest is available on DVD from Acorn Media, an American distributor (and bless them– they’re releasing season 3 in April while Alliance only released series 1 six years ago and never followed it up). So not only is the CBC Shop not selling these DVDs, no one in Canada is actually distributing them either.

    Indeed, aside from Twitch City, This is Wonderland and King of Kensington I can’t think of any other non-current CBC drama or comedy series released on DVD. Wojeck, Street Legal, Seeing Things… never gonna ever see release in a decent home video format and probably never sold in CBC shop (compare it with Radio Canada which has loads of dramas. available).

    What I really find bizarre about the CBC shop is that Doctor Who is co-produced by the CBC (or at least the first three seasons were… no one’s saying if they’re continuing it). The CBC logo is on the back of the Canadian DVD release. Can I find a physical copy of it in the Toronto CBC shop? No (at least not in December when I last looked). Can I find it on the CBC Shop website… yes, but for $40 more than amazon or even HMV sells it (and not the current series). Bravo to the CBC shop for making a little bit of revenue there, not. And that’s not even getting started that they could have been on the ground floor of selling Doctor Who merchandise (which sells pretty well) like they do with Corrie and they handed it over to BBC Canada and others by ignoring it.

    So in summary: CBC does a crappy job at actually licensing materials and an even worse job at selling it. But I guess this is not much of a surprise

  2. Anonymous
    Posted February 20, 2008 at 6:30 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You rock Allan!

    You’re my Abbie Hoffman, and instead of Yippies we’re all TeaMakers!

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 19, 2008 at 7:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You can count on the shop being out sourced…. Ask around, both in and outside of the CBC… They couldn’t handle the orders from November. Rumour has it Audience Services was flooded with complaints…. Notice that they took the toll free number off the site? Most of their fare is cheaper at other retail outlets….

  4. Dwight Williams
    Posted February 19, 2008 at 3:38 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Mark: seconded on Da Vinci. CBCShop should be carrying it. And it should be the unedited edition. No dialogue blanked out.

  5. Allan
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 11:29 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Blogger hiccuped two of those links.
    So here are the URL’s:

    You’ll never have to turn on television or radio again.
    Just your Mac Air.

  6. Allan
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 11:19 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Torrents for the primary CBC line-up can be found ” REL=”nofollow”>this location (sign-up is free) and a CBCer has been busy contributing there for quite a while. But, really, the best stuff is of course from the BBC.
    Abbie Hoffman was a great man)

  7. Mark Dowling
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 3:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I think the worst part is – Da Vinci’s Inquest is not listed on the CBCShop site so far as I can see! I have no objection per se to the BBC selling CBC programmes but for the CBC not to be selling its own is bizarre.

    Also the picture of the one on the BBCShop does not have a CBC logo – one would think it should have one.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted February 15, 2008 at 10:25 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    As a CBC listener I wish i could find that elusive CBC shop where things were humanely priced. $50+ for a radio series! Are they crazy? I can buy an entire TV season for half that! (Worse yet I can’t find any CBC recordings on the BitTorrent channels yet either…

  9. Anonymous
    Posted February 15, 2008 at 8:43 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Not proud at all, just stating a fact. BTW, I think BBC is looking at buying The Next Great Prime Minister from us. There has also been talk for years of selling Front Page Challenge as an international format. Too bad they didn’t take the international sales division in that direction.

    There’s no reason a broadcaster cannot create legacy programs and entertainment as well. I’m just saying, the BBC does both, and they make a tonne of cash selling those entertainment formats.

  10. J. Frank Willis
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 5:50 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hey anon at 4:05

    Have you checked the catalog? There’s no reality TV/factual entertainment in that BBC catalog. Do you think anyone is going to buy a DVD 10 years from now of Dragon’s Den, either the Canadian or UK versions?
    The DVDs are meant, as the Beeb says, “to enrich people’s lives through innovative programs and services that inform, educate and entertain…” That’s why the BBC is selling 30-year-old dramas (as well as DaVinci)
    And just why is Anon 4:05 so proud that CBC had to purchase its factual entertainment from the BBC?
    Once, long ago, the CBC was the innovator, the risk taker. This Hour Has Seven Days came before Sixty Minutes etc. etc. Not any more, just buy off the shelf concepts and then put the champagne on ice.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 2:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Most of the “factual entertainment” formats we run are purchased from the BBC. Food for thought next time you are comparing CBC unfavourably to BBC. Both public broadcasters, both doing factual entertainment.

  12. Dwight Williams
    Posted February 13, 2008 at 8:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve decided on at least one thing:

    I want to see a CBCShop catalogue, hardcopy edition, in my mailbox before the end of this calendar year.

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