I mentioned this in passing, so I’d thought I’d give some context. The Government may have published its white paper outlining its reforms for the BBC sparing many of its finest and highest rating magnets but Labour has warned that shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Country File are not out of the woods yet.
Labour has warned that such staples of the BBC still face being axed under the Government’s white papers aim to create unique programming. Maria Eagle has been chief amongst those wanting assurances that such shows will be protected, commenting:
“The white paper defines distinctiveness as being ‘a requirement that the BBC should be substantially different to other providers across each and every surface’, but that hardly really pins it down. Ministers must allay concerns that this could be interpreted as the BBC being forced to withdraw from anything its commercial rivals wish it wasn’t doing for their won commercial gain”.
“You have in the past questioned the distinctiveness of some of the BBC’s most popular programmes, like Strictly Come Dancing. The white paper says ‘the government is clear that it cannot, and indeed should not, determine either the content or scheduling of programmes. But it also sets out prescriptive content requirements for radio and TV”.
“To Take one example for TV, it demands ‘fewer high output, long-term titles’. So you seem to be telling the BBC to stop producing much loved shows like Countryfile or Casualty or Doctor Who that happen to have been produced for very many years”.