BBC CHAIRMAN: ‘GREAT MAJORITY OF OUR OUTPUT IS VERY GOOD’: Anita Singh (£ Telegraph 21/10), reporting a speech by BBC chairman Sir David Clementi to the Voice of the Listener and Viewer organisation, said he had asserted that the corporation ‘took seriously’ that over-50s thought the BBC was biased to the left while young people tended to believe it was too right-wing and part of the establishment. Ms Singh added that he had also observed that for the ‘great majority of our output we are very good’ but impartiality was new director general Tim Davie’s priority number one ‘and we are doubling down on impartiality’. She said he had also hit back at politicians who criticised the BBC and claimed that many of them – apart from BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and BBC2’s Newsnight – did not spend much time with corporation output. He had also hit back at those who wanted the BBC to become a subscription service because their argument was ‘largely ideological’ and they did not realise what would be lost in terms of the educational and informational services.
James Bickerton (Express 21/10), also reporting Sir David’s speech, said he had asserted:
‘Around 27 million people in the UK came to the BBC website to find out about the election results (in December 2019). It was a reminder of the trust people place in the BBC. But the fact criticism came from all sides of the political divide shows to me that we were doing our job without fear or favour.’
BBC ‘SACRIFICES QUALITY FOR EQUALITY’: Milly Vincent (Daily Mail 21/10) said that former England cricket team captain and BBC cricket correspondent Sir Geoffrey Boycott had accused the BBC of ‘sacrificing quality for equality and of holding its presenters to a standard of political correctness which meant they were ‘frightened of saying anything’. Ms Vincent, noting that Sir Geoffrey had left the BBC in June and had been replaced by Isa Guha, a former England women’s cricketer, along with the recently retired cricketers Sir Alastair Cook and James Anderson, said that Sir Geoffrey was also said to have claimed that at the BBC everything was now about ‘gender and race’ and that the corporation was not run particularly well.
BBC ‘TERRIFIES ELDERLY’: Katie Weston (Daily Mail 21/10) reported that the BBC had been accused of ‘terrifying the elderly’ – who in July lost the right to have free BBC licences – by sending out letters ‘emblazoned with capital letters’ threatening fines of £1,000 if they did not pay their £157.50 annual fee. Ms Weston also noted that the letter wrongly implied that licence fee collectors had the right of entry to homes in their investigations about non-payment. She reported that the BBC had claimed that the letters had not been sent out to the elderly.