Hard choices ahead for BBC but quality will come first, assures DG

Joseph O'Halloran | 28-11-2013

Quality of material, particularly in the arts, will not be compromised at a BBC compelled to find new ways of giving viewers and listeners what they want, when they want it Director-General Tony Hall has assured.

Indeed in a speech to the UK’s Voice of the Listener & Viewer Conference, Hall granted that despite the challenges of a “fast-changing world”, with hard choices to be made in terms of output and direction, the corporation would put quality and value for money first.

He said: “There’s a fundamental shift happening. I want a BBC that feels different, where our audiences are on the inside, helping us to be the best we can be. I want to make three arguments: first, that the existence of the BBC is essential to the production of high-quality programmes and content; second, that licence fee payers have a right to expect not just quality but also value for money; third, that making continual efficiency savings leaves the BBC facing very hard choices about the work it does. And we will need …the viewer, the listener and the licence fee payer as our guide and support as we make these decisions.”

Noting the recent success of dramas such as Top Of The Lake, Luther, Sherlock and Peaky Blinders, The Fall and The Village, Hall assured that that the broadcasting corporation would make a bigger than ever commitment to not only this area but also to music and the arts in general.

Outlining the next steps Hall revealed that the he BBC’s mission was “to do more, to go further, to challenge ourselves to do better,” but that there would also be “hard choices to come.” Hall conceded that he could not highlight any specific choices at present but he reiterated the BBC’s guarantee not to comprise quality, or in his words, not to “stretch the elastic too thin.”

He concluded: “The BBC will be making the argument about its future through the actions it takes. We are going to make great dramas, great arts, great programmes. We are going to provide the best news service in the world. We are going to inspire learning and we are going to carry on pushing new technology. Our BBC…will stand for quality, for creativity, for wit, for intelligence, for imagination. And it will make the argument for its value with every minute it is on air and online.”