BBC – “an executive-run place for idiots”

Jennifer Saunders cuts loose on the BBC.

In a tirade worthy of her Absolutely Fabulous character Edina, Jennifer Saunders has criticised the BBC, claiming that it has become “an executive-run place for idiots”.

The writer and comedian said the BBC was no longer a fun place to work, but a top-heavy corporate behemoth.

She described wanting to yell obscenities at a former director-general for insisting on spending licence fee-payers’ money on expensive lunches at the fashionable Ivy restaurant in London rather than on programmes.

Saunders, 55, was speaking to Glamour magazine in an interview to promote her autobiography, Bonkers: My Life in Laughs, which is published this week.

She fondly recalled the excitement of arriving at the BBC Television Centre in west London with her comedy partner Dawn French when they were starting out in their careers.

Since then, however, she said the corporation, which recently sold off Television Centre to split programme-making between central London and Manchester, had become “unrecognisable”.

“It’s become top-heavy in such an ugly way,” she said. “They went corporate instead of being what they should be, which is a national resource, a place which trains people and curates the best programmes, and encourages talent and does great news and journalism. 

Sounds awfully like TVNZ.

“They just became a corporate, executive-run place for idiots. It’s just so weird that they could put people off coming into the building. She added: “I mean, what are these titles? How is Alan Yentob still allowed in the building? There are questions that need to be answered! It’s absolutely extraordinary and I just don’t get it.” Turning to the appointment of Tony Hall as director-general, replacing his short-lived predecessor George Entwistle, she went on: “I mean, the new DG said he’d go through it with a knife and cut out loads of people. But I remember when it was fun to be there.

“They’d all be geeky and everybody in the building looked like they really knew something or were learning something and were happy to be there — even though they were paid so little.

“Now they have things like massive workshops for executives and heads of departments on decision-making and you think: ‘If you’re the ——- head of a department at the BBC and you don’t know how to make a decision, why are you in that job? Who hired you? That’s the only thing that you have to do!’

“It got so annoying that you were called into these special lunches with the director-general at The Ivy and you were like: ‘— off! This is the licence payers’ money! I’m paying for the car to take me there — we all are paying for that car. And I’d like an extra bit of budget on my programme please and less of your wheels!’ ”


Do you want ad-free access to our Daily Crossword?

Do you want access to daily Incite Politics Magazine articles?

Silver Subscriptions and above go in the draw to win a $500 prize to be drawn at the end of March

Not yet one of our awesome subscribers? Click Here and join us.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

52%