In a time of austerity, this kind of lavish, globetrotting television can raise eyebrows, but Cox says “that’s just a misunderstanding of the economics of television”. More than half the budget came from foreign broadcasters, “because we know how to film Himalayan honey bees, and they don’t. And if we said we’re going to film bees in Kent instead, they wouldn’t want it.” But more than sound economics, Cox thinks the series exemplifies the whole point of the BBC. “One of the really refreshing things about the BBC now, with Tony Hall running it, is you’ve got someone who I know understands what a public institution is. I’ve always felt that the BBC is a public institution first and a media company second. So it exists in order to make the country better. It does not exist to make television or radio; that’s it secondary purpose. It makes the country better by making television.
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