David Attenborough: the BBC is in “real danger”

"The BBC is an extraordinary organisation and it’s got enough problems trying to keep up with changing social demands, let alone what the politicians want to do with it," said the naturalist about the future of the broadcaster

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Sir David Attenborough has said that he’s “very concerned” about the future of the BBC, and that it’s in “real danger.”

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The naturalist, who has been making iconic natural history series for the broadcaster for over 60 years, said, “If you lose the BBC, I mean I certainly will have lost a very, very important element of my life. And I would like to think that quite a lot of people in Britain think the same thing.”

Attenborough’s comments come just a few weeks after the BBC announced it needs to make cuts of £150 million in order to plug a shortfall in licence fee funding. Coupled with ongoing negotiations with the government over a new royal charter agreement, the future of the broadcaster is uncertain, with culture secretary John Whittingdale questioning whether the BBC should be “all things to all people”.

In the Radio Times Christmas issue, available from Saturday 5th December, Attenborough explains how he is a “BBC man through and through”.

He reiterated this connection to the organisation when speaking about his upcoming documentary Great Barrier Reef – and added that he feared for its future.

“The BBC is an extraordinary organisation and it’s got enough problems trying to keep up with changing social demands, let alone what the politicians want to do with it, so I am very concerned about the future of the BBC,” he said.

Asked whether the public should question Whittingdale’s promise that he is “not the BBC’s enemy,” Attenborough replied: “Yes. I mean the BBC depends upon the public. If it doesn’t have the support of the public the BBC is lost. But that doesn’t mean to say that every 65 million – or whatever it is, living in this country – all of us think all the time the BBC is wonderful.

“No, but every section of society, for one reason or another, at some time or another should be glad that the BBC is there.”

The naturalist added,”one of the things government should do is keep BBC at arm’s length, or keep themselves at arm’s length, because the power of the BBC is that it is at arm’s length from the government but it’s not above the law.”

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Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough will be broadcast on Wednesday 30th November at 9pm on BBC1.