As the world goes Bob Dylan mad, BBC2 last night aired part one of a major new documentary on the man, directed by Martin Scorcese. And very good it was too – I’ll be tuning in tonight (or recording it at least, since it clashes with Arsenal’s Champions’ League fixture).
But I do laugh when the overnights come in. According to Broadcast Now it “found only a modest audience last night with 1.8 million (8.4%) tuning in.”
Mediaguardian was a lot more honest in its interpretation, pointing out the ratings were an improvement on the same time last week, and highlighting the first-run popular drama series airing on BBC1 and ITV1 at the same time.
I mean, come on. How many people did anyone honestly expect were going to spend watching a two hour documentary on Bob Dylan? Frankly, it could have been a two doc on The Beatles and the audience wouldn’t have been that much better.
As it happens, I don’t care how few people watched it, as I thought it was thoroughly excellent. And the BBC are putting out a whole lot of additional programmes on various channels to support it. BBC Four gets the majority, but I still need to listen to Radio 3’s Andy Kershaw documentary repeated from 1999 and broadcast on Sunday.