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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December, 2004, 11:10 GMT
Do you agree with BBC overhaul?
Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC

Radical plans for the future of the BBC have been announced by Director General, Mark Thompson.

Mr Thompson said the changes are needed so that more of the licence fee can be put into programmes and content.

Up to 3,000 employees at the corporation are expected to be made redundant, and a number of departments, including BBC sport, children's programmes and Radio Five Live will be moved to Manchester.

Do you agree with Mark Thompson's view of the BBC? What do you want from the BBC? Should the BBC move more of its departments out of London? Send us your view.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Your comments:

Living as I do in the best country for really badly produced tv and biased news coverage, I hold the BBC in very high esteem. If people who moan about the quality of its programmes just watched the RAI for one evening they would never moan again. And it's not just the TV that's the best in the world. It's the radio and the web too! I would agree about do less lifestyle programmes and big brothers and more on quality drama. I do not agree with redundancy but a good spreading of programmes (as long as the quality doesn't suffer) would give things a more national feel.
Nick Dring, Genova, Italy

It is good news that the BBC is moving some departments up North. For years, the media has treated the area north of Watford almost as a foreign country!
Amiel, Skegness, UK

The BBC should not broadcast any material on which royalties have to be paid. Leave that to the commercial broadcasters. It's a simple rule and would save the licence payers a lot of money
John Kelleway, Spiez, Switzerland

Just kill off big areas that aren't needed and focus all funding on what's unique
John R Smith, UK
It will save money but will ruin some key areas of the BBC. A much better way forward would be to get rid of things that the commercial sector already does perfectly well. For example Radio 1 and 2 and all local radio stations are not things we need the BBC to do, there are hundreds of identical radio channels all over the UK that do this job anyway. So sell these off and put the money back into other areas. Similarly with the "commercial" TV programs everyone keeps mentioning leave them to commercial TV companies to produce. Focus on the things that only the BBC does because there's no money in it for anyone else; Radio 3 and 4; TV, Radio and Internet news; documentaries (which are nearly a lost art now); drama etc. Stop trying to do everything a little less well or at lower cost. Just kill off big areas that aren't needed and focus all funding on what's unique.
John R Smith, UK

Merry Christmas BBC employees.
Ross, UK

The decentralisation of the BBC out of London is a bold strategy and should be applauded. To be a truly 'British' Broadcasting Corporation, the DG must ensure the BBC's productions reflects the rich regional cultural diversity of the UK. My fear is that these plans will be watered down by the political and media elite based in London. Without breaking the stranglehold of this power base, the UK will always be skewed economically, culturally and politically to London and the South East
Paul Dutton, Ilkley England

It would be great for democracy and would give people the chance to get involved
Alex, Livingsto
The BBC should be required to provide regional public access TV facilities, funded by a tiny amount per licence fee. It would be great for democracy and would give people the chance to get involved. If people are obliged to have a licence there should be some direct benefit for the public in return!
Alex, Livingston

Please, the BBC is the backbone of developing British culture, and we in the USA, as in the rest of the world need the BBC in a leadership position that can only be maintain by not having any direct commercial pressure applied to it. Maybe this proposed organization is needed, just don't sell out to the manipulated lowest common denomination as American TV and radio broadcasting has become. The world needs you, certainly we do in the USA. And please no voluntary subscription service.
Mike Feasey, San Clemente, USA

The board of the BBC should be at least 50% directly elected by the license fee payers. Or else turn the BBC into a state-owned private company and turn our license fee into shares.
George, Manchester

A move to facilitate growth and coverage in the UK is a good thing
Jay, Toronto, Canada
The BBC is excellent in many of the things it does. Excellent entertainment programmes (The Office, Spooks), as well as a well respected news outlet. Public broadcasters must strive to be meet the standard created by the BBC. A move to facilitate growth and coverage in the UK is a good thing.
Jay, Toronto, Canada

The great problem with the management of the BBC, and with the last few governments, most particularly the current one, is a failure to understand how important the institution is to the rest of the world. The BBC is by far the most consistent, comprehensive and accurate news source on earth. Government and management have a fundamental responsibility to recognise this and to treat this aspect of the institution's role with the respect that it deserves.
Whitley Strieber, Los Angeles, USA

The BBC makes some of the best diverse TV programmes in the world. No other company can post programmes as excellent and diverse as Space Odyssey and Two Pints in its portfolio. Other channels, filled with makeover shows are lame by comparison. Make changes if you need to, but don't lose sight of your excellence - and don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Peter Labrow, Stockport, Cheshire

It will take more than 3000 redundancies and some decentralisation to put it right
Barry, Peterborough, UK
How will this help programme quality? The BBC has been dumbing down for thirty years as a matter of policy. It will take more than 3000 redundancies and some decentralisation to put it right, unless those axed jobs are those of so-called decision makers.
Barry, Peterborough, UK

It's very sad that staff may lose jobs - and two of my closest friends work for the beeb. However, don't think because you work for the beeb it deserves more coverage than any other news story where staff may lose jobs over a period of time. There's other news as well, surely this doesn't warrant headline status!
David, Sheffield

The BBC sets an international benchmark and is respected. Having lived in Germany for 20 years I see the dangers of dumbing down a society by trash-media and see BBC as one of the last bastions of quality in Europe - despite the perceptible attrition at the Beeb too. Moving up North is a double-edged sword - It may allow more competitive salaries to be paid - attracting better middle-level people, but it assumes that they don't see their future in London.
Rob, Germany

Good decision, why should tax payers continue to subsidise what is largely an inefficient organisation. BBC employees - welcome to the real world.
Steve, Manchester, UK

Why is the licence fee not being scrapped? Surely this is a case for the European Courts? I don't see the people of Holland (who can view BBC TV) paying the fee.
Anon, London

Why couldn't Radio 4 or News 24 be moved out of the capital to show real commitment to the regions?
Baz Tregear, Derbyshire, Englan
The move to Manchester smacks of tokenism - just moving children's programmes and Radio 5 - which is the poor relation of the other BBC radio services. All of the major news and current affairs output will still be London and therefore will presumably remain London focussed and presented from a London perspective as it is now. Why couldn't Radio 4 or News 24 be moved out of the capital to show real commitment to the regions?
Baz Tregear, Derbyshire, England

The BBC is the reason why I switch on my TV. However, I do have another option; I could use the website, but it is not as effective as watching the television.
Vimal Mistry, Leicester

The BBC aims to save 320m a year as a result of the cuts. I would say forget about cuts, disregard the licence fee but bring in advertising like the other channels. One thing about watching the BBC you never get a few minutes break you really need in between programmes to run off to the toilet or grab a coffee, because by the time you sit back down you have missed the beginning and end up turning over anyway. Scrap the licence fee, once and for all.
Mark D, Manchester

Do they expect Soho to relocate to Salford?
Gary Campbell, London, UK
OK, so they'll maybe save on staffing and studio costs, but what about the cost of flying presenters, freelancers, technicians etc to Manchester - or do they expect them to give up all their other work commitments in London? And what about the London studio and post production services they use? Do they expect Soho to relocate to Salford?
Gary Campbell, London, UK

I think it is excellent news. With all the regeneration that has helped the city evolve over the last few years and now this, it helps to cement Manchester's position as the UK'S second city.
Christopher Thompson, Manchester, UK

A very good idea to shift departments to Manchester. Why doesn't the BBC digest their new surroundings and make a soap opera to rival "Coronation Street" that actually reflects Northern lifestyle properly.
Tom, Manchester

I fear we'll end up with a second class news service
John Dickson, Oxford, UK
I'm all for moving the BBC out of London, but moving Five Live is ridiculous. Why cut it off from the BBC's news gathering operations? I fear we'll end up with a second class news service and that'd be a great shame.
John Dickson, Oxford, UK

So, shedding 3000 employees will save 320m. Would that money go towards lowering or scrapping the license fee? Didn't think so ...
Simon Ward, York, UK

I live in Spain part time and compared to Spanish or French television the BBC is a priceless gem. It gives us quality and intelligent broadcasting. I say they should do whatever they have to keep up the standards. You don't know how bad TV can be until you visit another country with less regulated broadcasting!
Andrea Rye, UK/ Spain

The audiences will return to BBC if they go back to their roots and give us quality programmes
Sally, London, UK
If the BBC stopped having expensive 'away-days' and 'team-building' exercises they could start saving money straight away. The audiences will return to BBC if they go back to their roots and give us quality programmes. They must also realise that the days of mega-audiences have long gone. There are now so many channels to choose from that they must offer something different, not copycat programmes with no shelf-life.
Sally, London, UK

The BBC is perhaps the only thing about Britain that can be called the best in the world. Like it already has with the Post Office, the government is caving in to business pressure and neo-liberalism to ruin a great public service.
Paul Webster, York, UK

I don't wish to see job cuts, but moving the BBC out of London and further north, might make them less of a London Broadcasting Corporation than at present.
Tony Dyson, Leeds

Hasn't anyone noticed that the move to Manchester will cost 600 million! Talk about an expensive waste of the license fee. Think of all the programmes that could be made for that. The staff won't want to move, they have settled lives in London and most are freelance anyway. What a load of PC rubbish.
Martin Caldwell, London, UK

Why move to Manchester, given that Granada is already based there. Nottingham already have a television studio (old Central) which is closing down. Could they not make use of this and utilise some of the staff already based there who will lose their jobs?
Roy Jones, Nottingham, England

There is already a Manchester bias in local programming in the North West of England
Andrew, Merseyside, UK
I agree that the Beeb must decentralise but my fear is that as the BBC becomes less London-centric it becomes more Manchester-centric. As it stands there is already a Manchester bias in local programming in the North West of England.
Andrew, Merseyside, UK

Most UK sport is based in and around London, so they move it to Manchester. The most vibrant UK music scene is in the North West, so they leave Radio 1 in London. It makes no sense.
Andy Briggs, London, UK

Forget the 3,000 employees, get rid of the TV licence Mr. Thompson.
Bruce, Blackburn, UK

Finally someone has taken the organisation by the neck and dragged it kicking and screaming away from bureaucracy. Job cuts are always regrettable but if efficiency is improved, programme repeats are reduced and the overall quality of programmes is increased, this can only be a good thing.
Tom, Reading, UK

Nobody can disagree with the goal of producing quality TV. With shallow reality TV shows and a never ending diet of soaps on the independent channels we need the BBC to raise its game to give us something different for our compulsory subscription fee (the licence). I'm not quite sure though, how shifting a few jobs and channels "up north" to Manchester is going to rid the BBC of its blatant Southern bias in news coverage.
Andrew Taylor, Nottingham, UK

Why not just put the licence fee up by 1, which will raise funds and save jobs
John, Sheffield, UK
Why not just put the licence fee up by 1, which will raise funds and save jobs. A far better way to make programmes than create unemployment and what a time to announce it.
John, Sheffield, UK

The BBC used to be the finest news organisation in the world, now it's a mash of political correctness and reality TV. I would rather scrap the license fee and not have the BBC rather than see my hard earned money go to waste.
Nick, Cardiff, Wales

This is the time to buy property in Manchester. It too can be just as expensive to live in as other places down south!
Peter McNaughton, Montreal, Canada

I agree that the BBC appears to be overstaffed and under performing, so these cuts do make commercial sense. Moving jobs out of London and up to Manchester is also a good idea. I also agree with other people's comments regarding sharing wealth and creativity as well as opportunity across the UK. What I don't agree with is the smug tone some people are taking about the fact that many people are possibly about to be told they are losing their jobs. Let' have some consideration for these people and the news they are facing!
Adrian, London

Is this 3,000 redundancies to improve balanced and impartial programmes and news, or is it a PR response by the management to demonstrate so-called tough efficiency? I fear it's the later!
Rob, Northfleet

I'd be very surprised if we actually notice a difference in output
Mark, Newcastle, UK
It all sounds like they're making the right noises - but I'd be very surprised if we actually notice a difference in output. By the time any changes take effect, the rising production costs will mean that we're still left with repeats and cheap to make reality nonsense. By saving money, it basically means that the BBC won't get much worse.
Mark, Newcastle, UK

People should realise, this is not a battle but a considered approach to spring cleaning the media industry and creating opportunities for both people in London and Manchester. There is nothing wrong in retraining, after all...variety is the spice of life. 'Some' services will be better off in London and some better off in Manchester. QED.
Dom Turnbull, Cheshire

I can understand the need to relocate to Manchester to reduce costs, but why build new facilities in Manchester when the previous purpose built Pebble Mill site has just been vacated for smaller offices in central Birmingham?
Jo Butler, Birmingham

As long as all this improves the quality of the programmes I think it's worth it. There should be more focus in reducing the number of repeats on prime channels like BBC1 and BBC2 - put them on BBC3 and the rest so if you want to watch them, you can decide to.
Simon, Suffolk

Funny that...the company needs to save money, so the 'management' solution is always to cut jobs, never for the bosses to take a pay cut. Perhaps if the management weren't so useless, the company wouldn't be losing money, and the people on the bottom wouldn't have to get ditched all the time. Perhaps the management should go first. But perhaps that idea is just a little too wacky for these times...
Paul, UK

Five Live must not move to Manchester
Andy, Cambridge, UK

Whatever they do with Children's and Sport, Five Live must not move to Manchester. The quality of the news shows would surely worsen. Without a London base, how can the station expect to get the high-profile guests it needs?
Andy, Cambridge, UK

Yes absolutely.. All the cuts are in the non productive bureaucratic parts of the organisation which should improve productivity and creativity. Every large organisation needs to cull these bits on a regular basis!
Dick, Scotland

I live in London, but recognise that it's not the only city in the UK. Moving units out of the capital is how the BBC will maintain its connection with the rest of the country. Creative people don't only come with Transport for London oyster cards.
Alan Davidson, London, UK

London, the richest part of the UK, is heavily subsidised by the rest of the UK as the wealth from employment in the civil service, Westminster, foreign embassies and organisations like the BBC is concentrated there. Moving these jobs to Manchester will make a small contribution to redressing this. Perhaps the government could follow suit?
Graeme Gardiner, Glasgow

I think the BBC is increasingly aware that their funds are under threat
Scott, UK

I think the BBC is increasingly aware that their funds are under threat. It is only responsible of them to ensure they are not seen to be 'fat cats' and to focus all their energies on producing quality programmes rather than yet more reality, DIY, garden or cooking shows which seem to have been flooding the schedules over the past few years.
Scott, UK

My auntie works at the BBC, she's a cleaner, and she would like to see less people (for obvious reasons). I also agree with the cuts, the BBC is well overstaffed, I heard this morning there are around 1,000 people in HR alone. Its nuts, it must be a hell of a queue at lunchtime.
Richard Jackson, High Wycombe , UK

Very sensible decisions. A move out of London to the North will, potentially, give a view other than the cosseted, upper class London BBC. The reduction in staff is inevitable - look at the number of employees in competing businesses. This could be the "making" of BBC after a period of suspicion and bad publicity.
Roy Taylor, Northampton UK

Sounds good to me! Maybe we'll now get value for money instead of all the constant repeats on the BBC. Just look at the BBC's Christmas schedule for instance - nothing but repeats! It's about time the money from our license fees was put into decent programmes!
JB, UK

I think he is right to want to put more money into programme making
Cathy, London

I think he is right to want to put more money into programme making and content production, good on him for making my licence fee go further.
Cathy, London

What do I want from the BBC? I want to pay a licence fee only for those channels that I choose to access, I do not wish to pay anything towards digital channels that I do not require and cannot access without buying a satellite dish as Freeview and cable are unavailable where I live. I want the massive pay-bill for over priced 'stars' to be cut dramatically. We do not need highly paid people to read the news or front quiz shows. I want adverts for digital shows I cannot access to cease. I want the BBC to stop trying to compete with other channels in the chase for ratings; any fool can produce drivel, if I wanted drivel I'd subscribe to Sky.
Trevor, Cambs, UK

I think the BBC represents pretty good value for money
Mark Malik, Teesside, UK

Job losses are always regretful and on the whole, I think the BBC represents pretty good value for money. But, like many long-standing, publicly funded institutions, it has become a lumbering beast. Slow, inefficient and beset by countless different internal brands and identities. I also wonder if the reluctance of the UK public (me included) to embrace the new digital services has played a part. Perhaps a cull and strategic reorganisation will benefit the corporation in the long run. But that doesn't help those who are to be made redundant and I hope they all find new jobs soon.
Mark Malik, Teesside, UK

Ok so he wants to save money - so why's he moving several departments to Manchester? Must be costing millions as well as the disruption to people's lives and all to apparently 'reflect' the audience. Also you poor lot at the BBC have been waiting with bated breath for this announcement, but you will need to wait till March before you know whether you are losing your jobs. Merry Christmas to one and all, eh?
Jemima, London UK

Yes I agree with the shake up - the BBC is a dinosaur that has wasted far too much money in the past. I say scrap the licence fee or fund via subscription and let the BBC take its chances.
AJ, Edinburgh, Scotland

The output of the BBC, as with a lot of UK media, is still very London centric - it would surely make sense to be spread more amongst your client base - particularly if money can be saved by not needing to pay as many London allowances - and then this might hopefully make London a bit cheaper for the rest of us if lots move out...
Nick, London, UK

Anyone losing their job is always bad thing but change is a necessary component in success. By continually changing, reforming and redesigning, the BBC will set itself apart from other media organisations.
D Chesterton, Stafford England

The B in BBC stands for British and not London
Ed H, Cheshire, UK

About time too... very pleased indeed to see London taking a second place in future plans. The B in BBC stands for British and not London and it is good news for the regions that this shake-up is taking place. Let's hope a few more corporations and companies follow this lead.
Ed H, Cheshire, UK

The BBC is widely recognised as the best TV Corporation in the world. It is a crying shame so many will lose their jobs, because if it ain't broke.....
Emma Tyler, Plymouth, UK

The BBC is amongst the most trusted and balanced news organisations in the world - I would be willing to pay double the current TV licence to preserve this national treasure.
Rob Powell, Southampton

I pay 121 per year to the BBC. I would hope that the bulk of that goes on programming rather than on feeding the huge BBC bureaucracy.
David Hassan, London, UK

It is definitely good news if more of the licence fee is going into programme content. We will all benefit from better quality programmes and less drivel. The BBC might be able to recover and regain some of its former glory as one of the best broadcasting agencies in the world.
Lucy, Oxford

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the re-organisation plans, the timing of the announcement is appalling. With 3 weeks to go to Christmas there is not enough time for individuals to work through their individual concerns with their management before there will be a 2 week break in opportunity to talk. The impact of the plans is life-changing for many individuals and their families. People need time to work through their personal issues.
Peter Hindle, Northumberland

It makes sense. A national corporation shouldn't be based solely in the South East. By moving major depts to Manchester the BBC will (hopefully) become less London-centric.
Peter, Nottingham

I do not believe in cuts to balance books
Kehinde Oduyemi, Dundee, UK

I do not believe in cuts to balance books. However, the Director General is right to shift the balance to those making programmes and not those 'pushing papers'.
Kehinde Oduyemi, Dundee, UK

It's not putting more of the licence fee into programmes that's the issue. It's the need for well written and interesting programmes and not cheap tacky rubbish. After all did classic shows like Dr Who or Red Dwarf really have a large budget to work with?
David, UK

If it means we get quality drama, comedy, documentary and good current affairs programmes and no more reality television I will be delighted.
Brian, Newcastle, UK

I think it will be a hard call for anyone to pass a comment on efforts of the BBC to "slim-down". Any effort to save cost is a good thing, when studied objectively. However, it is a bit concerning when the bulk of redundancies are in the back-office roles. One fact does come to my mind repeatedly however was that during the American elections the BBC fielded 188 journalists in the country for months on end. I am not sure how much saving could have been made if a more prudent policy was adopted for coverage of American elections, if savings was the motive behind these redundancies.
Prabhat, UK

Will I see my licence fee go down or stay static? I doubt it.
Shane, Winchester

If the BBC is cutting staff by 9%, will we see an equivalent cut in the license fee? Hang on, I forgot, the licence fee is going UP this year....silly me.
Chris, Oxford

It is always sad when jobs are lost, I am going through something similar now. My heart goes out to them, so, does this mean we will get a reduction in our licence fee?
Steve. P, Burnley, UK





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