The Andrew Neil Show will not be returning to Britons screens as part of huge BBC cuts. The political programme had been cut during the coronavirus crisis, but will now not return, it has been confirmed. It comes amid huge job loses across the BBC, which is mainly funded by a licence fee paid by British TV viewers. In total 520 jobs will go, from a workforce of around 6,000 people.
That includes 450 job cuts that were announced as part of an £80m savings drive in January, and then put on hold.
The BBC said it was talking to Mr Neil about a new BBC One interview show.
Lunchtime TV show Politics Live, one of Mr Neil’s former programmes, will return four days a week after being taken off air during the pandemic, but he is not expected to present the show on a regular basis.
Announcing the latest cuts, the BBC said: “We remain committed to Andrew Neil’s in-depth interviews (as well as the Budget, US Election and other Specials).
“The Andrew Neil Show will not be returning but we’re in discussions about a new interview series on BBC One.”
The Andrew Neil Show has been axed as part of huge BBC cuts, it has been announced.
The Andrew Neil Show had been taken off air during the coronavirus crisis
Furious Britons took to Twitter to lash out at the BBC’s decision to axe the Andrew Neil Show.
One person tweeted: “Andrew Neil is one of the finest if not the finest political interviewer in the country.
“The BBC need their heads bashing together if they think cancelling his show is a good idea!”
Another said: “The best interviewer the BBC have got.
The BBC said it was talking to Andrew Neil about a new BBC One interview show
“Nobody had a easy ride with Andrew Neil.
“The lefties are getting their way by stealth.”
The announcement comes just a week after the BBC said it would be ending the universal free TV licence for over-75s from next month.
Furious Britons are now calling for the licence fee to be scrapped altogether.
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The BBC said the coronavirus pandemic had led it to ‘re-evaluate exactly how we operate as an organisation’
The BBC is also scrapping the free TV licence fee for over-75s
One person tweeted: “Over 75’s will have even less quality TV to watch now. It’s time to scrap the TV licence fee altogether.”
Another wrote: “They can spare an extra £100 million on a ‘diversity’ budget and £87 million on a new net for a failing soap opera. The Licence Fee has to go.”
Mr Neil has been one of the BBC’s top political broadcasters over the past 20 years, fronting programmes such as This Week and Daily Politics.
The Andrew Neil Show began last autumn in the week’s leading up to the general election in December, and the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The massively popular politics programme, included interviews with most party leaders, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not appear.
Boris Johnson did not follow other political leaders by appearing on the Andrew Neil Show
The broadcaster said increased financial pressure on the BBC because of the pandemic means the total number of job losses in BBC News will rise to around 520.
Director of BBC News and Current Affairs Fran Unsworth said: “COVID-19 has changed all of our lives. We are still covering the most challenging story of our lifetimes.
“During this crisis audiences have turned to BBC News in their millions and I’m incredibly proud of what we, as a team, have been able to achieve.
“But if we don’t make changes, we won’t be sustainable.
“This crisis has led us to re-evaluate exactly how we operate as an organisation.
“And our operation has been underpinned by the principles we set out earlier this year – fewer stories, more targeted and with more impact.
“We’re aiming to reach everyone, every day. For BBC News to thrive, and for us to continue to serve all our audiences, we have to change.”
In 2016. the BBC said it needed to save £800million, wityh around £80million of that figure coming from news.
Over the past four years, the corporation has announced plans to reduce its “pool of presenters”, with more correspondents being tasked with working across a wider range of content.
Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC Two programme has already been axed, while it was previously announced Newsnight, 5Live and Today would be affected as part of cost-cutting plans and efforts to reach a younger audience.
This is a breaking story. More to follow…