BBC: Public Should Decide Fate of Popular Shows

'The Great British Bake Off'

"It should be for the public to decide whether programs like 'Strictly [Come Dancing]' or '[The Great British] Bake Off,' or stations like Radio One or Two, should continue," it says, as 'The Voice' also gets mentioned in a government paper.

The BBC on Thursday said that a U.K. government paper that emphasized that the public broadcaster's scale and scope must be reviewed as the two sides work on a new charter for the BBC puts it at risk of becoming "much diminished" and "less popular."

In a statement, the broadcaster said: "The BBC is a creative and economic powerhouse for Britain. The starting point for any debate should be — how can a strong BBC benefit Britain even more at home and abroad? The BBC has embraced change in the past and will continue to do so in the future, and we will set out our own proposals in September."

It added: "We believe that this green paper would appear to herald a much diminished, less popular BBC. That would be bad for Britain and would not be the BBC that the public has known and loved for over 90 years."

It also made reference to popular shows that some predict will attacked by the government. "It should be for the public to decide whether programs like Strictly [Come Dancing] or [The Great British] Bake Off, or stations like Radio One or Two, should continue," the BBC said. Strictly is the original U.K. version of Dancing With the Stars.

U.K. culture secretary John Whittingdale in parliament on Thursday lauded such popular BBC shows as Sherlock and Bake Off. But the green paper signaled the need to review content decisions based on whether they make the BBC distinctive.

"This does not mean that the BBC should not be entertaining; it is about the BBC providing distinctive programming across all genre types," the paper said. "For example, the BBC acquired the format for The Voice. This was a singing talent show developed overseas, bought by the BBC at a reported cost of around £20 million and similar to ITV’s X Factor. This is in contrast to Strictly Come Dancing, which was developed by the BBC in-house and then sold abroad."

Twitter: @georgszalai

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