Hands off our BBC, viewers tell Jowell

Thousands of members of the public have contacted the Government to say they want the BBC to continue as a public broadcaster funded by the licence system.

Thousands of members of the public have contacted the Government to say they want the BBC to continue as a public broadcaster funded by the licence system.

Only about one-tenth of the 5,500 people who responded to a government consultation wanted the licence fee scrapped. The replies make it a near certainty the BBC's charter will be renewed when it expires next year.

About 70 per cent were broadly favourable to the BBC and about 20 per cent hostile. But hostile responses divided equally between those who resented paying the licence fee and those who accused the BBC of dumbing down, and wanted a return to its old values.

However, the favourable responses included a large number of complaints about the lack of variety in the BBC's choice of repeats, with too many old episodes of Dad's Army or Only Fools and Horses. Copycat "makeover" programmes were also a popular target for criticism.

Fears for the future of the corporation peaked during its dispute with Downing Street over the Today programme's allegations that intelligence reports had been "sexed up" to bolster the case for the war in Iraq. It was rumoured that the Government might seek to take revenge by abolishing the TV licence. But the Secretary of State for Culture, Tessa Jowell, has privately insisted she wants to avoid having a political dispute about the BBC's future before a general election. She is due to publish a Green Paper early next year.

Lord Burns, a former permanent secretary to the Treasury, is working on a report into issues facing the BBC, including funding, competitiveness and how it is run. The role of the BBC governors came under criticism during the dispute with Downing Street, which ended in the resignations of the BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, and director-general, Greg Dyke.

Ms Jowell has said publicly that the BBC's future as an independent public service broadcaster is not under threat, despite the promptings of some Labour MPs.

On the same day that Lord Hutton delivered his report into the death of the government scientist Dr David Kelly, the source of Today's allegations, one New Labour MP called for the BBC to be sold off. Sion Simon, a former political adviser and newspaper columnist, asked during Prime Minister's Questions: "As we now learn that the enemy within turns out to be the BBC, had we not better privatise it sooner rather than later?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Guru Careers: Sales Director / Business Development Manager

£35 - 45K + COMMISSION (NEG): Guru Careers: A Sales Director / Business Develo...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Management Accountant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for a independently owne...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker