The cancellation of the long-running series Mock the Week was spurred by the BBC having to make "tough financial decisions", according to the broadcaster's director of unscripted programming.

Speaking at this year's Edinburgh International TV Festival, Kate Phillips also suggested that the panel show's axing would allow the BBC to explore new ideas and formats.

"It's all about trying new things," said Phillips. "Mock the Week has been a fantastic series, it's been on air for a very long time and we've got to take tough financial decisions and we want to create headspace for new ideas.

"There's still a lot of satire on the BBC and Mock the Week will have a terrific final hurrah this autumn."

She also dismissed the suggestion that the BBC is moving away from political satire. "There was no decision about 'we can't do so much satire, we have to behave ourselves' – absolutely not, our satire story will always be strong, but it's like, what's the next idea that's coming through?"

It was first reported earlier this month that Mock the Week would be ending after 17 years and 21 seasons, with host Dara O Briain saying at the time: "The storylines were getting crazier and crazier; global pandemics, divorce from Europe, novelty short-term Prime Ministers. It couldn’t go on. We just couldn’t be more silly than the news was already."

Speaking exclusively to in the wake of the news, comedian and former show regular Andy Parsons suggested that the series had gradually moved away from political satire across its run.

"It was a political panel show and it arguably got the best comics at the time on the show," said Parsons.

"And then gradually, over the course of a number of years, the BBC decided that actually the political comedy show was going to be Have I Got News for You, and Mock the Week would be a showcase for younger comics who didn't necessarily have much grasp of politics or the news, they weren't interested in them. And therefore, inevitably, the show changed."

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