UK – One of the first things the newly elected UK government has done, is demand cuts to the national broadcaster, the BBC. Graham Norton, the UK’s Eurovision presenter (and extremely highly paid BBC star) has joined in the debate, defending the BBC.
Norton, who allegedly earns £1.5m per year, speaking to the UK’s Telegraph newspaper said,
“It’s hard for me, because I should be able to be very vocal in my defence of the BBC, and kind of go, ‘Let’s treasure this thing. Let’s not have it dismantled’. But of course, everyone goes, ‘Well you would say that, wouldn’t you?’ But having spent time in other countries, I see that the BBC is amazing. That it is incredible. It’s just that my voice has no weight in that debate. It’s a really perilous time for the BBC. The trouble is that every government hates the BBC. The BBC will criticise the government, and so there is that slight, ‘Well, if you’re not with us, you must be against it’. The BBC is one of those things people will not understand until it’s gone. And then they’ll be going, ‘Oh, telly’s a bit shit. This is a weird period drama – there’s only two people in it and no cars’.”
The BBC is an organisation not known for its track record for being open about its finances. It’s journalistic and artistic works are exempt from Freedom of Information requests… something it tries to use for just about everything to the frustration of requesters!
As a publicly funded body it seems only right people should see how this great organisation spends their money, as there may well be areas it can make savings. When you compare what you get for your £ though, compared with paid subscriptions such as Sky, it’s incredible value. As Norton says
“Just put £24 into everyone’s bank account, and switch the BBC off for two months, and people would shit themselves.”
Norton has signed a letter to the UK Prime Minister asking the Government to protect the BBC from cuts.
Could the cuts at the BBC affect the UK being one of the Big 5 in future? They could certainly limit the opportunities for the UK to ever send any more established acts or run expensive national finals. Services such as the BBC Radio 2 pop up service could also be affected. Eurovision still pulls in a lot of viewers in the UK s hopefully the BBC will continue to support the contest.