BBC Bias Digest – 7 SEPTEMBER 2020

NEW DG ‘CONSIDERS TWO-TIER’ BBC LICENCE FEE: James Robinson (Daily Mail 6/9) reported that new BBC director general Tim Davie was considering the introduction before the end of the current BBC Charter in 2027 a two-tier licence fee – with basic and premium packages – as well as future funding via income tax, which would involve a sliding scale levy according to income, or via council tax.   Mr Robinson explained that the two-tier licence fee would mean that basic programmes such as Eastenders and Blue Peter, as well as news output would be available for the cheaper fee, while Strictly Come Dancing and first-run dramas would be graded as premium.

TIM DAVIE ‘HUMILIATES’ PURNELL, BUT ‘DESPERATELY WOOS’ ANDREW NEIL:  Andrew Pierce (Daily Mail 6/9) suggested that in Tim Davie’s management shake-up, a loser was former Labour minister James Purnell, who had been in overall charge of radio services, but was now line-managed by Charlotte Moore, whose new role as chief content officer encompassed all services except news and that emanating from the regions. Mr Pierce claimed that the change was a ‘humiliation for Mr Purnell, who had been in the running to become director general.  Mr Pierce also speculated that Tim Davie was ‘desperately’ trying to woo back to a presenter slot the former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, whose previous BBC current affairs roles had been axed by former director general Tony Hall.

BBC STAFF SURVEY PLANS ‘TRIGGER OUTRAGE’:  Susie Cohen (Daily Mail 6/9) said that the BBC was ‘under fire’ from a range of MPs and pressure groups for Plans to spend up to £1 million (over five years) on  computer software involved in regular staff surveys designed to gauge opinions of staff on how to make the corporation a better place in which to work. Ms Cohen said that Dennis Reed, of campaign group Silver Voices, had said that over-75s who were now being forced to pay for their licence fees would be ‘enraged’ by the news.


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