BBC told to get act together

THE BBC defended its role yesterday as executives spelt out their vision for the millennium in a document, "The BBC Beyond 2000", which Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, had asked the corporation to prepare.

But as it launched into its mission statement highlighting its brand as a byword for quality, it was rounded on by the actress Prunella Scales for its dwindling drama repertoire. She said there had been only six plays longer than 60 minutes which had been broadcast on BBC radio in a year.

The actress's message contrasted with the florid statement from the broadcaster claiming it was still value for money in the multi-channel age.