BBC Chairman Sir David Clementi has warned that replacing the licence fee with a new ‘paywall,’ may seal the fate of children’s TV output such as CBeebies, the channel responsible for some hugely popular kids’ programs such as Teletubbies.
Clementi suggested that, along with regional programming and large-scale national events, such as “royal weddings or jubilees, or Olympic successes,” parents may need to start thinking of other ways to entertain their kids.
[The BBC] would be very unlikely to continue the level of properly curated programs for children, or indeed the brilliant Bitesize education services that have helped so many teenagers.
The prospect of the channel’s demise had many parents howling in dismay on social media, seemingly petrified that such a life-saving distraction could be in jeopardy. One person tweeted: “Hands off CBeebies!! It’s the only way I get anything done.”
British satirical website the Daily Mash ran with the headline: “If you touch CBeebies we will destroy you, parents warn government.”
Others on Twitter joked that a Teletubbies world set in 2023 will now see the characters “bricked up in their dome and left to their fate”, forcing them to resort to “cannibalism.” Another blamed Brexit for “killing CBeebies.”
The public broadcaster is entering some uncertain times in light of its director general Tony Hall announcing in January that he’ll be stepping down in the summer. Most recently, a BBC executive was forced to return £12,000 in appearance money amid the broadcaster’s 450 job cuts, and questions have been raised about the sustainability of its publicly-funded model.
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