BBC boss quizzed on whether broadcaster is ‘too woke’

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The director-general of the BBC has been asked if the broadcaster was “too woke” as he faced MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee.

Lord Tony Hall was challenged by committee chair Julian Knight over whether the BBC was “reflecting widely enough the cultural and thought diversity” in Britain. 

It was after the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the corporation must avoid a “narrow urban outlook” and “be closer to and understand the perspectives of the whole of the United Kingdom”.

Lord Hall defended the corporation’s “ambition” and said it was “aiming” to reflect the general population.

He told the committee: “You can never reflect totally every single strand of opinion in a country but we should be aiming to do exactly that.

“My belief is that the makeup of the BBC should reflect the different strands of opinion, demographics, makeup of the population of the UK, and that’s what I have been aiming for.”

Pressed on whether the broadcaster was “too woke”, he said the BBC should be “diverse in all that it means”.

“That means social diversity as well as diversity by where you come from, as well as diversity of BME et cetera and I don’t know whether that’s woke or not to be honest with you but that’s what I think a good organisation should be.”

And asked if he took personal responsibility for the “state of the BBC right now”, he said: “I take responsibility for the state of the BBC, of course I do ... I'm the director-general.”

Lord Hall is preparing to step down from the top job, after seven years in role.

It comes just as the BBC faces uncertainty, with the government has suggesting the possible end of the licence fee and proposing to replace it with a subscription service.

Read more

Campaigners protest against possible end of BBC licence fee

Mike Graham: The BBC needs to be cut down to size

talkRADIO: Listen live