×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Strikes loom as BBC sharpens axe

Thompson to pinkslip 1,800 staff

BBC toppers and employees are predicting a spate of strikes before Christmas as director general Mark Thompson prepares to announce plans to pinkslip 2,800 staffers.

“The chances of industrial action are high,” a BBC insider said. “The journalists union is furious at what is expected to be several hundred compulsory redundancies in news,” the insider added.

“Above all these are cuts that will compromise quality, which can’t be good for license payers or staff,” journalists union leader Jeremy Dear said in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program.

The BBC restructuring is designed to plug a £2 billion ($4 billion) funding gap. But while 2,800 jobs will be cut, another 1,000, principally in new media, are likely to be created.

The funding shortfall emerged in January, when the British government failed to give Thompson the extra money he asked for as part of a hike to the BBC license fee, payable by all TV-watching homes in the U.K.

Thompson’s blueprint for the next six years (the term covered by the new license fee) will be announced today, but leaks indicate heavy pinkslipping in news, factual and children’s departments.

News supremo Peter Horrocks is expected to lead a newly merged news division that will abolish separate newsrooms for TV, radio and online.

In television, factual shows — a genre in which BBC inhouse producers have already been hit hard as more work is farmed out to indies — are expected to be affected.

The upshot is that auds will see more repeats on the screen as Thompson adopts a policy of making “fewer, but better” programs.

Another casualty of the Thompson master plan, which comes as the BBC attempts to rebuild credibility following a summer of scandals involving viewer deception, is understood to be the Beeb’s iconic West London HQ Television Center.

Known as “the concrete doughnut,” the building, worth an estimated $600 million, looks likely to be sold off as the Beeb redevelops Broadcasting House in central London.

More TV

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Bette Midler, Judith Light Join Netflix's

    Bette Midler and Judith Light Join Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' on Netflix

    Bette Midler and Judith Light will guest star on “The Politician,” the first series Ryan Murphy will launch on Netflix after he inked a deal with the streamer last year. Murphy made the announcement at the end of Saturday’s PaleyFest panel for his FX series “Pose,” and noted that Midler and Light will both appear [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Indya MooreFX's

    Patti LuPone Joins FX's 'Pose' as Season 2 Jumps to 1990

    “Pose” co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Broadway legend Patti LuPone will guest star on the upcoming second season of the FX drama, and that the series will jump ahead to 1990. Murphy made the announcement while moderating the “Pose” panel at PaleyFest on Saturday, telling lead actress MJ Rodriguez that she will share many scenes [...]

  • The Good Doctor

    Series Mania: Freddie Highmore Talks ‘The Good Doctor,’ Arsenal, Norman Bates

    LILLE, France —  God, Freddie Highmore’s good at crying. There’s a scene in “Neverland,” screened at his Series Mania masterclass, where he’s acting opposite Johnny Depp. His mother has just died. Highmore sits on a park bench, clutching a notebook, which she helped as tears well in his eyes, and he tries to keep in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content