BBC TV audiences can expect more repeats and fewer original programmes under plans to reduce the size of the corporation revealed on Thursday. Up to 1,800 staff will also be made redundant – primarily in news, BBC programme making and regional centres.
“I can’t see how they can justify these cuts,” said Natasha Kaplinsky. “I love working with Dermot, Mishal, Sian, Bill and Moira. Besides, we need six for the darts team in case one of us is on holiday.”
John Humphrys was in a similar mood; “James, Sarah and Edward would be missed if the Today programme had to get rid of them, but we definitely need a team of four if they expect us to make our own tea and toast every day”.
The expected cuts will result in name changes for many programmes. ‘BBC 24’ will be cut to ‘24’, ‘Today’ will be shortened to ‘This Morning’, ‘The One Show’ will become ‘The One and Only Show’ and ‘Michael Palin’s New Europe’ will be renamed ‘Eastenders’.
‘Newsnight’ presenter Jeremy Paxman has voiced his fears that the show could not “survive in anything like its current form” if its budget was slashed by 20%.
Sir Michael Lyons promised hopeful journalists that it would definitely be at least that.
Sir Michael said that the BBC had been repeating the same twelve episodes of Eastenders for the last five years and nobody had noticed. Similarly, with the Snooker Championships, the BBC has been editing and cutting together clips from different matches to create programmes that are more entertaining. This explains the frightening speed of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s last 147 break and why his hair length and shirt colour kept changing between shots.
Nature programmes and Quiz shows will be combined to save money. Rumours that Anne Robinson will wrestle apes in “The Weakest Chimp” or wild cats in “The Weakest Lynx” have not been confirmed. “The Weakest Mink” in which the winner gets to keep a fur coat may also be a crowd pleaser.
OK. I’ll stop now.