Self-congratulatory whitewash! Outrage at BBC licence fee spending plans for anniversary

BBC licensing model savaged as 'completely archaic'

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The BBC has commissioned a series of programmes to mark its centenary in 2022. Newly commissioned TV and radio documentaries will look at the history of the corporation “and its impact on public life” since first being set up.

But campaigners have accused the broadcaster of using the anniversary in a “futile” bid to win back trust among the public, who have become more sceptical of the benefits of the organisation in recent years.

Rebecca Ryan from Defund the BBC told Express.co.uk: “It’s clear that in 2022 the BBC intends to spend the year blowing licence payers’ money on self-congratulatory, rehashed programming in a futile attempt to whitewash the waste, bias and scandals of recent years.

“Our supporters strongly believe that 100 years is quite enough of the BBC as a public service broadcaster.

“The licence fee is a relic of a bygone era; a dodo in the digital age.

“Pensioners are refusing to pay for a licence as they face the choice between heating and eating this winter; millennials and zoomers find the concept of live broadcast TV alien; and children don’t even know the BBC exists. The end is nigh.

“The BBC, with its licence fee, is like that last guest at a party that refuses to leave, having insulted the hosts all evening and bored everyone to tears talking about veganism.

“In 2022, Defund the BBC supporters will be showing the Auntie the door.”

While campaigners are concerned the centenary will block out scandals involving the broadcaster, the BBC says its programmes will reflect on “its own public controversies and how it continues to engage with the British people and attempts to represent a diverse and changing nation”.

Programmes set to air include a new three part documentary called “BBC: A Very British History” fronted by veteran presenter and former Question Time host David Dimbleby.

Filmmaker John Bridcut is also set to present a two part feature-length documentary on the launch of BBC Radio in 1922 and “the challenges and triumphs of today’s BBC”.

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Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer said: “Our centenary year will be a huge treat for audiences of all ages from massive sporting events, comedy, entertainment, drama, arts and music, to documentaries assessing all aspects of the BBC’s history.

“BBC 100 will celebrate and reflect on the unique role the BBC plays in the lives of audiences across the UK as our much cherished national broadcaster from its creation right up to the present day.”

While multiple surveys say the BBC remains the UK’s most trusted news provider, it has seen support dwindle in recent years.

Many want reform to its funding and an end to the £159 a year licence fee.

A poll carried out by Savanta ComRes for Defund the BBC last month found 62 percent said they would support scrapping the fee in the event of a referendum on the finance model.

Just 24 percent of respondents said they would keep it.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Our own research paints a very different picture from this snap poll, with the Licence Fee the preferred way of funding the BBC, over advertising and subscription.

“We offer great value to every Licence Fee payer and the last 12 months has seen the BBC deliver huge audiences and critical praise for a range of shows and content.”

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