Acting director of television Mark Linsey has hit back against the “balderdash” criticisms made against the BBC, and pointed out that a month of the licence fee costs roughly the same as one season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
“The truth is that some of the claims made against us during Charter are, like the Christmas board game, Balderdash,” said Linsey in his address to journalists at the press launch of the BBC’s Christmas line-up.
“They are sometimes motivated by commercial imperatives, rather than the interest of viewers. They sometimes deliberately overlook that our mission has always been to entertain, as well as inform and educate.
“Our channels are hugely distinctive and that is an all-year-round commitment – not just for Christmas,” added the executive, who took over from Danny Cohen this month in an interim capacity.
Linsey also said that a month’s licence fee costs roughly the same price as downloading season 7 of E! reality hit Keeping up with the Kardashians.
“We know viewers have high expectations of the BBC – especially at this time of year – but consider what you get for your £12 of licence fee in December. You get all those brilliant TV programmes, but also our outstanding radio stations, our world class news and our superb online services.
“All, incidentally, for roughly the same price as it costs to download season seven of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
Linsey (pictured, below) also promised a Christmas BBC1 schedule that will have fewer repeats than previous years.
“It’s important to reiterate that no one invests as much in original programming over Christmas as the BBC,” he told the audience.
“This year BBC1 will have fewer repeats in the peak hours between 6pm and 10.30pm – the place where people traditionally come together and where we unashamedly focus our resources; fewer than previous years and fewer than other channels.
“We are still finalising our schedules, but I can promise you that in BBC1 peak time more than 90% of programmes will be brand new.”
Linsey also paid tribute to his predecessor, the former director of television Danny Cohen, who left the BBC earlier this month.
Last year Cohen used the same event to call on viewers to appreciate what the Corporation delivers – before it is too late.
In 2013 he warned BBC talent not to air their dirty linen in public, insisting that those who are “well rewarded” by the BBC must stop giving media interviews in which they criticise the organisation.
This Christmas, the BBC is delivering a line-up with a raft of programmes and personalities ranging from Doctor Who to David Walliams.
Other highlights include Charles Dickens-mash-up Dickensian, an animated version of the children’s favourite Stick Man and an adaptation of Walliams’ Billionaire Boy in which the author plays a dinner lady.