· · learn more

◌  The time the BBC cited me to myself

2 June 2011

I have a lot of respect for the BBC. They dig deeper, even in routine stories, than most of their competitors. For example, my last post here was a transcript of an interview with an important man whom I did not find interviewed elsewhere. The closest was two days earlier in an AP story:

Back during the country’s civil war, the FN rebels also received help from a Liberian faction — this one allied with Taylor. One ex-Liberian combatant from Taylor’s disbanded army told The Associated Press he was now serving as a “field commander” in Ivory Coast for Ouattara’s forces.

“What we are doing here is no secret,” said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “They all want to see Gbagbo give out power to the man elected.”

I suspect this is Blagbe(?), and it speaks well of the BBC by comparison that they got him to chat and presented more than a few words of it to their listeners.

Anyway, as I said in the post, I was very unsure of my transcription. I couldn’t pin down the name of the man being interviewed nor many of the towns he mentioned. That was embarrassing. So I went to the BBC’s podcast contact subsite and waded through about a dozen warnings that they don’t generally provide transcripts. While I understand that they aren’t in the transcript business, a lot of their programs are reading-based, and for many people (e.g., people with difficulty hearing) a script clearly marked as non-authoritative would go a long way. In any case, I hoped either that someone would have the time to fill me in on the names or that Blagbe(?)’s speech would have a surviving transcript because it was voice-overed, so I used their slightly poorly designed contact form to ask.

Today I got this e-mail from bbc_podcast_website@bbc.co.uk, in which I have redacted a few identifying details:

Dear Mr Loyd

Reference [reference number]

Thank you for contacting the BBC iPlayer support team.

I understand you want a transcript for the podcast of ‘Africa Today’ broadcast on 09 March featuring interview with J.Pelele as you would like the spellings of proper nouns which were mentioned on the show.

Please note that transcripts are expensive to produce and are not automatically made as part of the programme making process. However, I can assure that your suggestion has been forwarded to those responsible for maintain the service.

You can find text of the interview at the below link and hope it provides the information you are looking for:


This link will take you to a website outside bbc.co.uk. The BBC is not responsible for content or software downloaded from external sites.

Once again thank you for contacting BBC iPlayer.

Kind Regards


There you have it. My guess-filled transcript is apparently the BBC’s own best source for what they broadcast three months ago.

(On later re-reading, this comes across a trifle braggy. But I have nothing to brag about here; I got nothing right. The respectfully frustrated point is that the BBC acted like it couldn’t do any better. Thank you for listening, and keep those letters coming.)