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Letter: Battle for the BBC

Sir: Your headline "BBC should be killed off, says Channel 5 chief" (13 November) is the opposite of what I said in my speech. I strongly support the BBC: it is the licence fee I object to, and the notion that the two are inextricably linked is a mistake too often made, not least by the BBC's governors and management.

I have been advocating abolition of the compulsory licence fee for 14 years - long before I had anything to do with BSkyB - precisely because I think it is the biggest obstacle to a brilliant future for the BBC.

The BBC needs to transform its relationship with the viewer, reduce the cost of its basic services to the poorest households, increase its overall revenue, add to the range of its channels and end the growing conflict between its revenue sources: all that can be achieved by switching to subscription funding, but by no other means.

David Elstein

Chief Executive

Channel 5 Broadcasting

London WC2