BBC’s new director-general Tim Davie arrives for his first day as he promises radical shake up of biased ‘left-wing’ comedies – while executives look at replacing licence fee with special income tax
- Tim Davie takes over as new BBC director-general from outgoing Lord Tony Hall
- He will look for a shake-up of the BBC’s ‘left-wing biased comedies’, say reports
- Top executives will also look at a ‘Swedish-style’ model of funding for the BBC
BBC‘s new director-general Tim Davie today arrived at work for his first day in his new role, as reports suggest he will make a radical shake-up of the broadcaster’s ‘left-wing biased comedies’, while top executives look at a new model of funding.
The former chief executive of BBC Studios, the corporation’s commercial production and distribution arm, is expected to set out his plans for the broadcaster in the coming week, with impartiality a key focus.
Mr Davie reportedly wants a radical overhaul of the broadcaster’s comedy output in the coming months, over fears it is seen as is seen as ‘too one-sided’, reports The Telegraph.
Shows such as BBC Two’s satirical comedy The Mash Report and The Now Show on Radio 4 and Have I Got News For You have previously been criticised.
BBC’s new director-general Tim Davie today arrived at work for his first day in his new role, as reports suggest he will make a radical shake-up of the broadcaster’s ‘left-wing biased comedies’, while top executives look at a new model of funding
Mr Davie reportedly wants a radical overhaul of the broadcaster’s comedy output in the coming months, over fears it is seen as is seen as ‘too one-sided’, reports the Telegraph
BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil in 2018 described the former as a ‘self satisfied, self adulatory, unchallenged Left-wing propaganda,’ while he hit out at as Now Show on Radio 4 was ‘contrived ideological commentary’.
Meanwhile, top BBC executives will also look at replacing the traditional licence fee system with a special income tax, according to reports in The Guardian today.
Such a system is currently used in Sweden to fund all of its public service broadcasting.
People pay a maximum of £113 (1,300 SeK) a year for the service, compared to the £157-a-year for the BBC, while the tax is a sliding scale with those with less money paying less – unlike the BBC’s flat rate system.
Mr Davie starts his new role today, taking over from Lord Tony Hall as the BBC’s director-general.
Lord Hall’s exit after seven years in the role comes amid a turbulent time for the BBC.
Lord Hall’s exit after seven years in the role comes amid a turbulent time for the BBC
The broadcaster faces scrutiny over equal pay, diversity, free TV licences for the over-75s and competition from streaming services such as Netflix, as well as the on-going coronavirus crisis.
Davie was acting director-general for four months following George Entwistle’s resignation in November 2012 before Lord Hall’s appointment, and previously served as the corporation’s head of audio.
Before joining the BBC in 2005, he worked in marketing.
Davie starts as the BBC hit controversy over the decision to play orchestral versions of Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory at the Last Night Of The Proms.
The BBC is also expecting to receive a report into the use of social media by its staff, including presenters, written by Richard Sambrook.
The BBC comedians who have faced criticism over their jokes and the BBC comedies which have been criticised for their perceived bias
Some of the BBC’s top comedy shows have faced criticism in recent years over perceived left-wing bias, while BBC comedians have also faced criticism over political comments and jokes.
Last year, comedian Jo Brand made a joke on BBC Radio Four’s comedy show Heresy throwing battery acid over ‘unpleasant’ politicians.
She branded the throwing of milkshakes on politicians such as Nigel Farage as ‘pathetic’ and added: ‘Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?’
She added: ‘I’m not going to do it, it’s purely a fantasy. But I think milkshakes are pathetic.’
Her quip, in June last year, was initially defended by the BBC, who later backtracked and admitted Ms Brand had ‘gone too far’ – while the 63-year-old also apologised.
Regulator Ofcom earlier this year said the star’s comments had the ‘potential to offend listeners’, but it was unlikely to encourage or incite the commission of a crime.
Last year, The BBC pulled an episode of its long-running satirical show Have I Got News For You just minutes before it was due to air over fears it would breach election impartiality rules by having Change UK leader Heidi Allen as a guest.
The programme was removed from the evening schedule because Heidi Allen, of Change UK/The Independent Group, was on the show.
BBC editorial guidelines around election periods do not allow programmes where ‘equal representation’ is not achieved.
Ms Allen took to Twitter to air her frustration, while Change UK wrote to the BBC following the decision, which came after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had been a panellist on political debate show BBC Question Time days earlier.
The long-running panel show has previously faced criticism by viewers claiming an anti-Conservative and anti-Brexit bias.
The show received complaints earlier this year over it discussion on top Conservative aide Dominic Cummings’ trip during lockdown from Durham to London.
BBC Two’s The Mash Report has also faced criticism, with satirical pieces poking fun at Brexit and the Conservatives.
In one piece, about the government’s Brexit advertising plan, headed up by Michael Gove, comedian Rachel Parris said: ‘He’s a good man,’ prompting host Nish Kumar to respond ‘Is he?’
The comedian then responds: ‘No,’ prompting laughter from the audience.
The BBC also provoked outrage earlier this year by screening an ‘anti-British’ children’s programme on Brexit Day.
Hosted by Left-wing comedian Nish Kumar, Horrible Histories Brexit suggested Britain had historically failed to produce anything of note, relying instead on imports.
Amid a chorus of protest, even one of the BBC’s broadcasters launched a stinging attack on the show. Leading political commentator Andrew Neil last night called it ‘anti-British drivel of a high order’ and asked: ‘Was any of the licence fee used to produce something purely designed to demean us?’