'Why on earth can't the BBC produce a show as brilliant as Breaking Bad?' asks Boris Johnson. Is that why the Tories want to rip it apart?

Mayor of London's comments come as the government is set to publish plans to overhaul BBC's funding and narrow its range of shows

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Indy Politics

The BBC is bracing itself for the biggest shake-up in its history as the government is expected to publish plans to fundamentally overhaul its funding model and a narrowing of its range of programmes.

John Whittingdale, the new Culture Secretary, has been a fierce critic of the BBC for spending millions on popular TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice and The Great British Bake Off, insisting TV licence payers' money should not be going towards chasing commercial ratings.

However the latest remarks from Boris Johnson suggests that the government would not be so unhappy with the BBC's output if it was producing the type of shows they prefer - such as the Mayor of London's favourite TV series: Breaking Bad.

"Why on earth can they not produce something that is quite as brilliant as Breaking Bad?” he asked when appearing live on Sky News ahead of today's announcement.

How the BBC would deal with the $217m (£140m) cost of making one of the most popular shows of recent years is anyone's guess, but the government would have to rethink its plans to overhaul the broadcaster's funding.

Mr Johnson was speaking during an interview on Sky News after his request for police to use water cannons was rejected by Theresa May. It paved the way for a public row between the two leading rivals to succeed David Cameron as Conservative party leader.

The Mayor of London gave Scotland Yard permission to buy three cannons second-hand from German police last year at a cost of more than £200,000. He claimed the decision would save the taxpayer £2.3m in the long-term if they were approved.

However Mrs May said medical and technical advice she had received led her to the decision to turn down the request to deploy the Ziegler Wasserwerfer 9000, saying she was "unconvinced" by the "operability" of the machines under consideration.


Responding to the decision, Mr Johnson, who is standing down as Mayor of London next year, said: "Obviously I don't necessarily agree with the conclusion."

Here's the full interview of Mr Johnson appearing on TV after the decision was announced by the Home Secretary in the House of Commons: