The BBC‘s reliance on bland cooking shows, tired quizzes and low-brow comedies is putting its future at risk, a former executive claims.
As rivals such as Netflix innovate and flourish, the BBC is becoming marginalised and struggles to justify its licence fee, argued Roger Mosey.
Recent entertainment shows have attracted ‘terrible reviews and awful ratings’, he said, adding: ‘It is hard to imagine that the nation would be the poorer if some of the corporation’s current broadcast offerings were lost.’
He described one recent programme – For Facts Sake, featuring Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan O’Carroll – as an ‘indefensible commission’ and said viewers deserved more.
Roger Mosey, a former BBC executive, hit out at ‘tired quizzes’ of which he included Pointless (Presenter Alexander Armstrong pictured on set)
‘The quiz show Pointless often runs seven days a week,’ he noted. ‘Is this really what we want for our money?’
Mr Mosey said: ‘There is a sense that, having cried wolf for many decades, Auntie Beeb really is now at risk of being eaten. There is doubt about the BBC’s ability to remain relevant to the entirety of the UK population.
‘And questions are looming about whether the public will still be willing to pay the licence fee.’ BBC director general Tony Hall last year admitted the BBC’s spending had become ‘unsustainable’, and this month the cost of a licence jumped by £4 to £154.50 a year.
The BBC is also considering scrapping the free licence fee for over-75s amid claims bosses are wasting money chasing a younger audience.
He also took aim at ‘bland cooking shows’ such as Masterchef (2019 winner Irini Tzortzoglou, 61, pictured)
Meanwhile, the corporation has used nearly £100million of public money collecting the licence fee.
In 2017 it spent almost £16million sending threatening letters and emails, and stepped up visits by TV licence enforcement officers, but still missed out on more than £250million from people who dodged the charge.
Mr Mosey, a former editorial director, who also edited the Today programme and was the head of BBC television news, claimed the corporation’s over reliance on ‘safe-but-tired’ formats left little room for hard-hitting news programmes.
Writing in the Sunday Times magazine, he said the BBC had been ‘woefully inadequate in creating space’ for meaningful coverage of Brexit.
Shortening the BBC News at Ten (presenter Huw Edwards pictured) was a mistake, according to Roger Mosey
He added: ‘The corporation is not simply facing increased competition, but also the consequences of some dreadful political decisions taken four years ago; and it has hobbled itself still further by well-aimed shots at its own feet.’
He included the decision to shorten the BBC News at Ten and launch the BBC Sounds app among the broadcaster’s recent mistakes.
Critics say the app, aimed at younger listeners, is ‘difficult to navigate’ and ‘barely works’. It has also prompted claims the BBC is ‘running down Radio 4’.