just had a quick look at the guardian over a coffee and there on page 3 is an editorial which puts into words far better than I managed last night just what I was ranting about, not the enforcement of a rule, but the lack of consistency and discretion from the BBC:
The BBC complaints procedure: not so much University Challenge as universally challenged. The corporation simply lurches from one PR disaster to another with a cackhandedness that Jeremy Paxman would doubtless sneer at.
When decisiveness was required in the wake of Sachsgate, the Corporation misread the tone and delayed its response. Eventually it was forced to suspend presenter Jonathan Ross for his part in the spectacularly misjudged phone messages to Andrew Sachs.
Now when a certain lightness of touch would probably have sufficed, the BBC has used a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Manchester's University Challenge team had been graceful in defeat after the revelations that Corpus Christi's team included someone who was no longer a student.
"I am firmly of the opinion that the best team won on the day," said Manchester's captain Matthew Yeo, announcing that they would not seek a rematch. Unfortunately the BBC was too busy investigating the allegations to pay any attention to Yeo's example of how to handle a media controversy with style.
Ask the BBC to make a response to a cock-up, and invariably it comes up with the wrong one. It's not like it hasn't had the practice. The corporation has spent the past couple of years mired in stories questioning its values and competency - from the Blue Peter cat to Carol Thatcher, from Gaza to the Queen, they've just kept coming.
The BBC seems to have only two speeds of response when faced with a newspaper reporter and a story. It either refuses to acknowledge it at all, allowing the affair to spiral out of control while everyone denies responsibility, or it reacts so quickly that nobody has time to think sensibly about the response.
Which explains why, after Yeo had dug the corporation out of a hole by not demanding a rematch, the BBC reached for the shovels and started tunnelling.
If yesterday's announcement was an attempt to kill the story off, it has been unsuccessful. Instead the story is once again about the BBC's misjudged responses