UPDATE: BBC confirms date for the return of Gary Linekar to Match of the Day 

BBC Image: TheAsianAwards, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, it was a sport blackout – and aliens landing from space might have been bemused to find the BBC facing an existential crisis over a retired footballer’s recent tweet criticising Government’s asylum policy.

But then the BBC’s faced a number of controversies, hasn’t it? Most recently, criticism of its impartiality and independence following the appointment of Richard Sharp as chairman. Sharp’s close ties to the Conservative Party (helping Boris Johnson with a dodgy loan) raised concerns about his ability to remain impartial and independent in his new role.

But perhaps the organisation’s most serious controversy in recent years was the Martin Bashir scandal. In 1995, Bashir, a journalist working for its flagship news program, Panorama, secured an interview with Princess Diana that became one of the most watched television events in history. However, in 2021, it was revealed that Bashir had used deceptive tactics to secure the interview, including falsifying bank statements and lying to Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer. The revelations led to widespread criticism of the organisation and calls for accountability.

Then there was the criticism the BBC faced over its handling of the scandal involving Jimmy Savile who was posthumously revealed to have sexually abused hundreds of children and adults over several decades. Critics argued that the BBC, which had employed Savile for many years, had turned a blind eye to his behaviour and failed to take action to protect vulnerable people.

Another controversy that has also plagued the BBC involved allegations of pay inequality. In 2017, it was revealed that many of its highest-paid presenters were men, leading to accusations of gender bias and discrimination. The controversy led to the resignation of several high-profile female presenters like Carrie Gracie and Jane Garvey.

In addition to these scandals, the BBC has also suffered from the loss of key presenters. Notable departures include Jeremy Clarkson, fired from its flagship motoring show, Top Gear, after a physical altercation with a producer, Chris Evans, who stepped down as the host of its flagship breakfast show, Radio 2 Breakfast Show, after just one year and Fiona Bruce, who quit her role as presenter of “Antiques Roadshow” in 2020. These departures certainly raised concerns about the organisation’s ability to retain top talent and to continue to deliver high-quality programming.

Despite these controversies and challenges, the BBC remains one of the most important and influential broadcasters in the world. It continues to produce, generally speaking, a wide range of high-quality content, including news, current affairs, drama and entertainment, and remains a trusted source of information for millions around the world.

But looking to the future, it faces several significant challenges, including increasing competition from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, changing audience habits and ongoing pressure to remain financially sustainable.

Overall, while the BBC has faced significant problems and crises in recent years, its future success will undoubtedly depend not only on its ability to remain true to its core values of impartiality, quality and innovation but also on its ability to adapt to a fast changing world.

But above all, BBC, cut the controversies and scandals – just TELL the story, don’t be it!

Nora Johnson’s 11 critically acclaimed psychological crime thrillers (www.nora-johnson.net) all available online including eBooks (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.

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Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.