BBC Told Game Over for Makeovers

03 December 2004

The British viewing public may love them - but gameshows and makeover programs are not to the taste of a government review body deliberating the future of state-funded broadcaster, the BBC.

The panel, led by former top civil servant and incumbent chairman of the Abbey National Bank Lord Terry Burns, says the BBC should concentrate its resources on its core public service remit and leave the more populist offerings to others.

The Burns Panel is advising culture, media and sport secretary Tessa Jowell in the run-up to the corporation's 2007 charter renewal (the structure through which it is run).

Its findings are due to be discussed today (Friday) at a governance seminar which will debate the future regulation of the BBC. Currently its board of governors plays a dual role both of the BBC's champion and its watchdog, a state of affairs becoming less tenable in these days of transparency and openness.

Says Lord Burns: "In our paper, we have set out a range of options along with some of the advantages and disadvantages of each option as a basis for discussion at the seminar."

The options include external regulation by media watchdog Ofcom or a dedicated 'Ofbeeb'.

The BBC, led by chairman Michael Grade, is keen to keep the regulatory status quo, albeit with some tinkering to make it more acceptable to government and paying public.

A corporation spokesman diplomatically calls the panel's paper a "thoughtful document" and looks forward to debating it.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff