The BBC rears its ugly head in Turkey

Fried Fishy Grub, originally uploaded by Thoroughly Good.

Shortly before I left the UK I made the tactical error of saying to a colleague how much I was looking forward to spending two weeks away from all things BBC. “If I so much as glance at a BBC logo anywhere in Turkey, I’ll be livid.”

It’s never great to be reminded of work when one’s on holiday.

I tried to overlook the first sighting. I hadn’t slept very well yesterday morning; woke early; went to the gym; used the ski-machine with the embedded TV screen; the only usable channel was BBC World.

But this afternoon’s reference was a little more difficult to avoid. Sat next to Simon and I as we tucked into some fantastic fried calamari at Sunger Pizza in Bodrum was a smashing lady called Kim.

Former UK-resident Kim now worked for a yacht charter business, the offices of which were situated conveniently above Sunger Pizza hence the fact she was sat at the table next to ours enjoying a post-work beer.

Kim hadn’t been back to the UK for 9 years and had lived and worked in Bodrum for nearly twenty. “Oh, well you can always dip in to what’s going on back home via satellite TV, can’t you?” I pointed out recalling a friend’s parents having British satellite TV in their villa in Spain.

“We get BBC World and BBC Prime. The choice is limited,” Kim replied sipping her beer.

“Well there’s always the iPlayer,” said Simon.

“No, she can’t,” I corrected Simon, “she’s outside the UK, remember?”

“Oh,” replied Simon. “Well .. ”

“What’s the BBC iPlayer exactly?” asked Kim looking slightly confused.

It seemed almost impossible to believe that a British citizen wouldn’t know about the BBC iPlayer. I resisted the temptation to quip “it makes the unmissable unmissable.” If she didn’t know what the product was she was hardly going to know what the advert was.

Simon and I did some explaining, selling a totally objective view of the system. Kim didn’t seem especially disappointed to hear she couldn’t get access to the catch-up system. “My friends send me DVDs of all the BBC stuff they reckon I’d enjoy watching. I’m especially liking Torchwood. John Barrowman is gorgeous.”

Had I not finished eating I almost certainly would have choked when I heard this.

So, keen to draw the conversation about the BBC to a close (and thus avoid any attention being drawn to the fact that I work there – people do always assume that you’re able to sort out any problem with the corporation be it something on the Archers or the colour of Huw Edwards’ tie), we paid our bill and got up to leave.

I made a mental note to kick-start another discussion when I got home about British ex-pats having the opportunity to subscribe to BBC iPlayer content.

At this stage I don’t know of anyone I can pester at BBC Worldwide to get it sorted out. Give me time though, give me time.