UKIP leader Nigel Farage today calls for a radical overhaul of the BBC to cut costs, reduce the licence fee, tackle political bias and focus the corporation on “quality rather than quantity” in its entertainment output.
Mr Farage said: “The BBC produces many great programmes, but the idea propagated by its senior management that it does not also need fundamental reform is simply wrong.
“When it comes to political bias, it is obvious to most people that the metropolitan and establishment backgrounds of so many of its journalists is a problem. For instance, Newsnight has become little more than a televised version of The Guardian, with its journalists moving to and fro between it and Channel Four News at frequent intervals.
“I think it is time for Newsnight to be put out to grass and a new flagship current affairs and news analysis programme to replace it.
“When it comes to entertainment, the BBC should be proud of its ‘crown jewels’ such as Strictly Come Dancing and dramas such as Dr Who. They have become valuable global brands as well as programmes hugely appreciated by British audiences.
"Should the BBC feel it has to come up with its own version of every commercial TV genre, from dating formats to home makeover shows? I don’t think so.”
Mr Farage also called for the BBC to cut back sharply on its regional news websites which are threatening the future of local newspapers and thereby reducing the variety of viewpoints and outlets available to the public.
"The BBC is too big, its management layers are bloated and the licence fee is far higher than it need be. I think a much lower licence fee would actually produce a better BBC that concentrated on the stuff that viewers and listeners appreciate the most,” he said.