DEAR JIM: Please explain why BBC Canada is going off the air?( Mrs. H. K. (Thunder Bay).
BAWDEN: I say hurrah! The system was operated by Corus Entertainment but BBC kept its best product to be sold to the highest bidder.
Instead we got chunks of bad thrillers like Shakespeare And Hathaway, The Antiques Roadshow, a very bad variety show with instalments often years old and whatever weak comedies BBC couldn't sell to the highest bidders.
BBC is now going to set up its own streaming service but you'll have to pay of course. That's the way TV is evolving into a chain of pay TV services.
DEAR JIM: Why is CTV clogging the airwaves this past week with entire reruns of such U.S. imports as CSI ? What happened to Canadian content (R.H, Simcoe).
BAWDEN: I've been watching some of the many episodes of CSI. Would you believe some of its offshoots were financed by Alliance Atlantis and count as Canadian content? The episodes are beautifully shot with many exteriors and the cost would be prohibitive in any Canadian series that chose to be competitive.
DEAR JIM: Why have Canadian TV movies disappeared from the air (D.Y., Oakville).
BAWDEN: As we get more and more channels the quality of TV begins to deteriorate as networks struggle with an ever shrinking audience. The old 10 channel system meant live operas, ballets, adaptations such as Sean Connery in a great CBC-TV production of Macbeth. All gone now because CBCX can't afford such quality stuff anymore.
DEAR JIM: I wanted to buy a city for my class of Getting Married In Buffalo Jump, a great CBC-TV flick starring Paul Gross and I had to pay $80 to a U.S. copy to get one. What's happening?
BAWDEN: I have a friend who spent several years in the CBC-TV archives in Mississauga. She tells me she watched a superb version of Katherine Anne Porter's Pale Horse, Pale Rider starring Keir Dullea and directed by Eric Till. Masterful! But CBC has no intention of putting such riches out on video and making some money."Do you think we want to remind viewers how wonderful CBC used to be," said one senior bureaucrat. HE acknowledged CBC had a kinescope of Edith Evans doing her only TV version of The Importance Of Being Ernest --but it has been locked up for years. When the late, great Harry Rasky was browsing in Sam The Record Man's one time he came across his documentary on G.B. Shaw which CBC had sold to BBC Video and never even informed him!
DEAR JIM: Why don't they bring back Peter Mansbridge as anchor of CBC'TV's National? The current newsreaders lack gravitas?
BAWDEN: An excellent idea!
DEAR: Why did CTV cancel Canada AM? I thought it was one of the top quality shows on CTV. (P.B., Ottawa).
BAWDEN: I heartily agree. It was the first early morning news show on Canadian TV and Helen Hutchinson and Norm Perry were supreme. To knock it off for a silly lifestyle show was indeed craziness.
DEAR JIM: If you could revive one quality series from the dustbin of history what would it be? (C.C.,Hamilton)
BAWDEN: How about two: Friendly Giant and Chez Helene?