Nadine Dorries: BBC needs saving from itself

Nadine Dorries. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said the BBC has a problem with “groupthink” and needs saving from itself.

Ms Dorries – who froze the BBC licence fee in January – likened the broadcaster to a “polar bear on a shrinking ice cap.”

Speaking to the Sunday Times, she said:

“There is a problem with groupthink within the BBC, and I don’t think those people think they are left or they are right.

“I think they just believe they are absolutely right about everything. And they have a world view and a view of the UK, which is, I think, sometimes very wrong.

“Our responsibility is to save the BBC from itself, because it is that polar bear on a shrinking ice cap.”

She said she thought the BBC’s funding model would not exist “into the future” regardless of her actions as Secretary because “it will hit the buffers as more people refuse to pay the licence fee.”

Questions on how the BBC should be funded and how the corporation should adapt to evolving consumer habits and needs are due to be explored in a new inquiry by the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee.

Baroness Stowell of Beeston, chair of the committee, said:

“The broadcasting landscape is shifting rapidly, with intense competition, rising production costs and changing viewing habits.

“Developments in technology have led to increasing choice for people about what they watch, how and when.

“Our inquiry will look at this changing media landscape and examine how the BBC should be funded in the future to deliver what is needed from a national public service broadcaster.”

BBC bosses have warned that the licence fee freeze will leave them with an annual £285 million shortfall by 2027-28.

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  1. The BBC have already started a subscription service despite saying that style of funding is not suitable for them. The problem they have is they just ask for an increase in the licence fee while giving a Radio 2 presenter, Zoe Ball, a £1m pay increase without any justification! She presents a breakfast show and no matter how good she is, she can not bring in an increase in revenue to cover her salary. Britbox is the name of their subscription service and they just need to move all their content onto it and the TV Tax can be abolished. This won’t happen overnight, but if they had a deadline to work to, it is feasible. The point is that many countries in Europe enjoy BBC programmes for free, but if they paid a subscription the BBC would be able to raise much more revenue because of the numbers involved. They would probably increase their revenue by 10 times at the minimum, which would enable them to continue making the quality dramas and other programmes for which they have world renown. Also, if the fee was £10 per month, many existing customers would continue to support them in the UK because it would represent much better value for money than is currently the case. It would surely be a win win situation for all concerned.
    A reasonable changeover date would give them the impetus to grasp this opportunity, so I would suggest perhaps 1st September 2022, or at latest 1st January 2023.


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