New director-general says BBC must ‘make less’

The BBC’s new chief has suggested there could be a cull of content at the broadcaster.

The corporation has responded to competition from US giants by making more and more, Tim Davie said.

But it was time to “make less”, the director-general said in his first speech to staff.

“The truth is that we have tried to cope with increasing competition by making more and spreading ourselves too thinly.

BBC Director General
Tim Davie is the new director-general of the BBC (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Of course, we need to offer a broad choice as the BBC, and we should not retreat to a narrow offer,” he added.

“But we have been too slow to stop things that don’t work.”

Davie, the 17th director-general, said: “We are going to look in all areas and identify how we can have more impact by making less.

“I want us to consider what we would do if we could only make 80% of our current hours. What would we stop?”

He said the “simple” move was not “about cuts to save money”.

Davie praised dramas such as Normal People, Line Of Duty, Fleabag, an EastEnders special, and documentaries Blue Planet 2 and Once Upon A Time In Iraq.

He said Strictly Come Dancing, Wimbledon, comedy This Country, the BBC’s VE Day 75 coverage, educational service BBC Bitesize, the World Service and regional and national news were all examples of where the broadcaster builds a connection with the audience.

But the BBC must re-allocate “funds to where they generate most value – to ensure that we make our output world-beating and utterly distinctive”, he said.

He also said there was “too much bureaucracy”, adding: “I want every area of the BBC not to moan about bureaucracy but dismantle it.”

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