#BBC on brink: Tony Hall's fear over 'institution's destruction’ exposed

BBC's former Director General Tony Hall revealed his fear that the institution was destined for "destruction" after the Conservative government announced their plans to change the licence fee, in a bombshell interview.

PUBLISHED: 13:23, Tue, Sep 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 13:24, Tue, Sep 1, 2020

Tony Hall, 69, recently stepped down as the BBC’s Director General after seven years. During a candid reflection of his career, he revealed some of the most difficult challenges he faced while at its helm. One disclosure revealed his criticism of the Conservative Party, who he claimed nearly nearly forced the institution out of existence.

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Lord Hall described the difficulties faced by the BBC during his tenure – including the Jimmy Savile scandal, the renegotiation of the Royal Charter and public opinion that the institution was a “failure”. 

This coupled with a majority Tory government, led by David Cameron and focused on “full on austerity”, who he claimed felt that the “BBC needed reform” to be similar to “public service broadcasters in the US”.

He told last week’s BBC Media Show podcast: “Those views were absolutely in the ascendency.

“We didn’t have too many friends out there, either in the media or in the press or broadly, so I think it was a really really perilous time.”

The BBC boss was told that they would be forced to waive licence fees for the over 75s, under instruction of the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. 

When John Whittingdale, the former Culture Secretary, warned Lord Hall of the Government’s intention he was met with an explosive response. 

BBC FUTURE TONY HALL DIRECTOR GENERAL LICENCE FEEBBC news: Former Director General Tony Hall revealed his fear that the institution would collapse (Image: GETTY)

BBC FUTURE TONY HALL DIRECTOR GENERAL LICENCE FEEBBC news: Baron Hall stepped down from head of the institution after seven years in August (Image: GETTY)

He told him: “That is nuclear! That means closing BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, local radio, some radio networks and probably some other things – understand that’s the scale of what you are proposing.”

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