All change in BBC lavatories as staff demand – and get – bigger seats

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The Independent Online

All along the corridors of the BBC's Westminster offices, executives and journalists have been eyeing each others' rears. "It all began," says an insider, "when word got out that someone had complained that the wooden loo seats were too small."

The age, sex and seniority of the big-bottomed complainant are shrouded in mystery. But management clearly takes the issue seriously and has replaced all of the toilet seats at the BBC's luxurious offices opposite the Houses of Parliament with larger white, plastic seats.

Unfortunately however, the new seats are now causing friction in the newsroom. "I'm thinking of complaining that they are too large," says the insider, who did not want to reveal her identity. She said that her colleagues were "up in arms" at the change and considered it to be a waste of licence payers' money. "It is totally unnecessary," she said, "and does not sit well with Greg Dyke's cost-cutting crackdown on croissants and taxis."

Heavyweight political editor Andrew Marr is based at Westminster, along with star political correspondents John Pienaar and Mark Mardell. None of these, though, are thought to have moaned to management about the alleged inadequacy of the wooden seats.

A BBC spokesman said: "After 11 years of wear and tear we felt the time was right to upgrade the seats to something more comfortable and more hygienic." He claimed to know nothing of the original complaint, let alone the identity or true motivation of the person behind it. However, he did reveal that: "comfort is the main concern here."

Earlier this year, the BBC's occupation health unit published a booklet instructing managers, producers and others to "ensure you sit on the cheeks of your bottom" in order to avoid stress. The latest developments in the BBC lavatories are said, however, to be unrelated to this health advice.