Graham Norton thinks depriving the public of the BBC would make them appreciate it more

The presenter says the broadcaster is in a 'perilious' time

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The Independent Online

Graham Norton thinks the best way to get people to appreciate the BBC would be to have it switched off for two months to make people realise what they’d be missing.

“Just put £24 into everyone’s bank account, and switch the BBC off for two months, and people would s**t themselves,” he explained to the Daily Telegraph.

Norton said he had even suggested this tactic to director general Lord Tony Hall. “I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but the BBC did do a thing… they wanted to know what the public appetite was for the license fee, so they did a deprivations test.

“They got a mixture of people – those who were happy paying the license fee, those who didn’t want to pay it, those who thought it was too high. And they took their services away for two weeks. Just two weeks. No internet, no radio, no TV. And at the end of it, everyone was happy to pay the license fee.”

Norton admitted that as a presenter on the BBC, however, he was often considered extremely bias in matters. He earns around £1.5 million a year.

“I should be able to be very vocal in my defence of the BBC, and kind of go, ‘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.”

He added that the BBC was in the middle of a ‘perilous’ time, with George Osborne criticising it and plans to offer the service for free to over 75s being met with scorn.

The BBC has called for the government to let the public have their say on its future, issuing a statement ahead of the Conservative’s green paper saying “The BBC has embraced change in the past and will continue to do so in the future.”