BBC chief under fire from the Tories

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Indy Politics

Greg Dyke is the wrong person to head the BBC and is turning the public broadcaster into a commercial organisation, the Tories said yesterday.

John Whittingdale, the shadow Culture Secretary, questioned the BBC's involvement in commercial television ventures - namely BBC Worldwide - and called for an end to the corporation's interest in publishing magazines and making records.

He said: "My fear is that he [Mr Dyke] is driving the BBC in a commercial direction."

The shadow Culture Secretary was particularly scathing of the corporation's involvement in publishing. "The fact that it's launching 10 magazines this year is quite bizarre," he said. "Why have we got a nationalised magazine publisher?" Mr Whittingdale said the BBC was, therefore, enjoying unfair advantages over its rivals by the use of cross-promotion.

The shadow Culture Secretary has also set up a review group under David Elstein, the former head of Channel 5, to examine the future of the BBC licence fee. The report is due early next year.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We welcome people's views."