Lord Sugar: If I was BBC director-general I’d find the money to keep shows like Bake Off

"I wouldn’t mind the job but I doubt very much whether they’d give it to me because who ever gave it to me would end up without a job..."

Lord Sugar The Apprentice

The BBC is great value for money says business magnate Lord Sugar, but its hands are tied by qualms about spending, meaning it has failed to keep hold of major shows such as The Voice and The Great British Bake Off.

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“They’re a great organisation,” said Lord Sugar, speaking at the launch of the latest series of his BBC1 reality show The Apprentice. “[Licence fee payers] pay £140 a year, which is £12 a month, and when you compare the £12 a month to other things you pay – £30 for your internet, £50 for your mobile phone, £60 for Sky television, whatever – the value that you get at the BBC is tremendous.

“The problem is that too much politics goes on to suppress them in spending a bit of money because it’s always ‘oh well, it’s licence fee payers’ money’ and all that type of stuff. What this leads to is them losing the ability to pay the going price for programmes like The Voice, for programmes like The Bake Off… and I think that’s wrong. The problem is their hands are tied internally, because people are frightened to spend money.”

Talent show The Voice UK was poached by ITV in 2015 after five successful seasons on BBC1, while The Great British Bake Off is in the midst of its first run on Channel 4 following a well-publicised move from the BBC that is said to have cost C4 £75 million.

But Lord Sugar believes that if he was BBC director-general the fate of such series would be very different.

“If I was in charge of the BBC, I would find that money,” said Lord Sugar. “And the only way you find that money is to get rid of some of the money that I would consider to be wasted within the organisation.

“Would I like the job? I wouldn’t mind the job but I doubt very much whether they’d give it to me because who ever gave it to me would end up without a job, most likely…”

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The Apprentice returns to BBC1 at 9pm on Wednesday 4th October