Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 17:39 UK

Slim down BBC, Minister man says

Derek Fowlds, Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne in Yes, Minister
Sir Antony co-wrote the popular 1980s sitcom with Jonathan Lynn

The BBC must be slimmed down and its digital channels should "make their excuses and leave", the co-writer of classic comedy Yes, Minister has said.

Sir Antony Jay said the licence fee was being used to make "undistinguished" shows in a report for think tank the Centre for Policy Studies.

He said the BBC should be stripped down to one mainstream TV channel, a radio speech channel and a news department.

Last year the BBC Trust rejected calls to axe digital channels to save money.

Sir Antony, who created the popular 1980s political sitcom with Jonathan Lynn, said the BBC's resources were "spread over too many channels."

"The only possible approach is zero-based reconstruction," added the former BBC producer.


Yes, Minister, in which Paul Eddington's dithering minister did regular battle with Sir Nigel Hawthorne's wily civil servant, was a favourite of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

The Centre for Policy Studies was co-founded by Mrs Thatcher in 1974 to "promote the principles of a free society" and "promote policies to limit the role of the state."

Last year, the BBC's head of TV, Jana Bennett, rejected calls to close BBC Three in order to solve the corporation's financial problems.

Her comments were endorsed by Sir Michael Lyons, chair of the BBC Trust, who said digital channels BBC Three and Four were safe "for the moment".

BBC boss backs digital channels
24 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
BBC Three 'safe' in budget cuts
26 Aug 07 |  Entertainment
Humphrys questions BBC digital TV
03 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Paxman voices concerns over BBC
25 Aug 07 |  Entertainment
BBC may 'do less' says chairman
09 Aug 07 |  Entertainment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific