Only the British can so polite as to basically tell you to bugger off politely because you’re email can’t be handled by an automated reply system and get away with it.
I sent an email to the Beeb stating that they really need to get started on making online video available to Linux and Apple users. I also wanted them to stop this silly IP filtering they use to determine if you are in the UK or not and then block your access if the latter is true. This seems redundant for the UK. If you live in the UK and own a TV you must pay a flat rated license fee to help fund the BBC programming. Everyone must pay this fee, even if you are blind or only own a black and white set, albeit the latter two do get a slightly reduced rate.
So if you have a TV license, you are necessarily a UK resident and are therefore entitled to watch BBC video content online. Now say you need to go to France, Spain or Germany or even New York, Tokyo or Sydney for a few days and don’t want to miss your favourite BBC TWO cooking show or the local Scunthorpe United versus B’Mouth Cherries (really obscure local teams) on your local BBC station, let’s say BBC Radio Solvent in the South. If your were away, within the Isles and needed to catch up on your shows, you could go online and watch them again. However, if you were within the Isles, you also turn on the tele or the radio and simply watch it live. So the appeal of going online while on the road is not as appealing as if you were truly away form the Kingdom. Just because you need your passport to travel, suddenly the BBC cuts you off like a leper. Yet you are still license paying resident. Will they send you a cheque equivalent the amount of time you were unable to view their high quality programming? Hell NO!
Why can’t you just register as a license fee payer to gain access where you are. The Internet knows no borders… So I have been told. Yet the Beeb have devised a way of checking your IP address and if it is not 100% UK certified ISP, you’re screwed. Yet anyone who does not own a TV and any foreigner coming over to Blighty can hook up to my pad for BBC Feed for no cost!!! Outlandish!
This is the letter they sent. So cold, robotic and yet ever so British and polite:
“PleaseDoNotReply@bbc.co.uk to me
Thank you for contacting BBC Information.
We are sorry but our email system will not receive your email unless you use our pre-formatted webform. We realise you may find this inconvenient but hope you will understand that this helps us handle the many emails we receive every day more efficiently and makes best use of your license fee.“ (This is the part I really like)
In truth, I am very much right here in The Great White North. Yet my wife, the ex-Pat, has been unable to get her fix of local programming since we emigrated back. our first year we asked we them if we could continue to pay for the license fee and they could send us new episodes and Gary Rhodes, Spooks and Little Britain. The following year, we wrote them again and asked if they could by a license fee for the World Cup Football and Cricket Coverage. I keep trying to give them money to help fund their great shows and yet they keep refusing simply because we are not on Her Majesty’s Royal Soil.
Oh Well at least I can still buy PG Tips and chocolate covered Hob Knobs at the Bramble HOusewhile and sit and sulk like a good little ex-pat.