Whittingdale 'out of touch', says Homes Under The Hammer star


TV presenter Martin Roberts has said Culture Secretary John Whittingdale is "totally out of touch" with what the British public wants to watch.

Mr Whittingdale's plan outlining the future of the BBC singled out Martin's show Homes Under The Hammer for criticism, alongside other daytime favourites Bargain Hunt and Escape To The Country.

It suggested that they were part of "a static daytime schedule highly reliant on long-running property and collectables programming".

But, writing in the Radio Times, Martin said he was "angered and bemused" by criticism of his show as it is hugely popular.

He said: "Bargain Hunt (in its 43rd series) and Escape To The Country (in its 16th series) have also been directed to the gallows by Culture Secretary John Whittingdale as he puts pressure - totally unreasonable pressure, I'd say - on the BBC to sharpen its axe. These are tired formats, he suggested, that are past their sell-by date and clogging up the schedules."

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale.
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He went on: "Somehow our success, popularity and longevity have been turned into a negative. Whaaaa?

"Has Mr Whittingdale ever watched the programme? Even if he has and doesn't like it, is it really his job to dictate to the BBC what it should and shouldn't be broadcasting?

"I would disrespectfully suggest that he is totally out of touch with what the British viewing public actually want to watch."

Martin said daytime television performs a unique role in the schedule, in that it is often viewed by people when they are vulnerable or at difficult times in their lives.

"I think that John Whittingdale and his colleagues would be shocked at the out-pouring of support that we would receive if his ill-conceived and truly unpopulist suggestions ever came to fruition," he said.

This week's Radio Times is on sale on Tuesday June 14.