Liverpool’s glory and the BBC’s shame

I got a call from my mate Iain last night asking if I wanted to go to the pub to watch Liverpool play Birmingham in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Seeing as I'm a Liverpool supporter, and I love pubs, beer, football and the FA Cup, in that order, I said I'd love to. And what a game it was. Liverpool won 7-0. Our greatest ever victory in the FA Cup, and most probably the end of Birmingham's manager Steve Bruce.

The first goal within the first minute. Then there were two incredible goals from Riise and Cisse. Two goals from Crouchy. Incredible.

The only problem is that I didn't get to see the match and even now – nearly a day later – I still haven't seen the goals. Why? Because the BBC, which holds the rights to the FA Cup games, decided not to show it. It showed the Commonwealth Games and Eastenders instead. It will show the Chelsea match tonight, the Charlton game tomorrow but not Liverpool's history-making game last night.

The BBC's decision not to show the game has effectively left one of the greatest games of the season in a blackout. Even the Liverpool FC website doesn't have any footage.

Which is especially ironic as only this week the BBC's head of new media and technology was up on stage with Bill Gates in Las Vegas demonstrating how the BBC is going to transform TV – how people “want TV on their own terms”, how the BBC will do just that, making programmes available for download for free up to a week after the programme.

That's great, TV on my own terms, but right at this moment I'd settle for the Liverpool match on any terms. Was the game even recorded?

Why didn't the BBC stick the game on one of its other digital channels? It could have stuck it on BBC3 or BBC4, and the 35 viewers that were waiting to see some jumped-up historian going on about Elizabethan pottery would just have to have lumped it as two million people watch the football.

I flick through all 50 channels or so I get with Freeview about once a day and it always strikes me that someone is conducting some huge pyschological experiment into how addictive the television really is: just how bad exactly does the image and content have to be before people turn the TV off?

Why didn't some enterprising digital channel strike a one-match deal with the BBC to show the Liverpool match? It would have made a big profit on the ad breaks and got lots of attention drawn to it. The answer, I suspect, is that the BBC would rather not see the game broadcast than let anyone broadcast it.

It should make space today in its schedules to show the match.

How about killing Flog it! – yet another crappy antique show where some idiot makes £10 profit by selling every family heirloom they can get their hands on – BBC2 6pm. Kill it – just for one week.

Of stick it on BBC1 and take off Disaster Matters and Child of Our Times – both intrusive bundles of nonsense where we can revel in other people's problems. Who is honestly going to fell let down if they don't catch these programmes?

Shame on the BBC.