The former England cricketer has launched a scathing attack on the company as millions of retirees have to pay to watch TV for the second year in a row. The 65-year-old revealed his inbox was flooded with messages from angry retirees.
Lord Botham said older British people were « already mad at a BBC » and, following Martin Bashir’s damning investigation, he claimed they were now « hot » with society.
A report by Lord Dyson revealed that the former BBC journalist used ‘deceptive behavior’ to secure his 1995 Panorama interview with the Princess of Wales.
The BBC removed free TV licenses for those over 75 in August 2020, meaning around 3.7 million people are subject to the £ 159 fee.
Only beneficiaries of the Pension Credit retain the right to a free TV license.
Lord Botham has targeted former BBC chief executive Tony Hall, who also ran the company when interviewing Diana, for breaking his promise about the license fees.
He told the Sunday Telegraph: “In 2015 Tony Hall announced that in return for a large increase in the TV license the BBC would pay all retirees over 75.
“Tony Hall then broke that promise and as a result the BBC will soon be sending the over-75s a second year of royalty requests.
“My mailbox showed that these retirees were already furious with a BBC that was moving further and further away from their values. Now they are glowing.
“The problem for the BBC is that these retirees are increasingly convinced that the BBC would never dare to sue them for non-payment. His moral strength is empty.
“For them, threat letters are just pieces of paper. «
Lord Botham says most retirees are particularly fond of the Royal Family, and the investigation into Diana’s interview scoop has been particularly damaging to the BBC audience.
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But he warned that door-to-door visits by television licensing authorities would resume once the coronavirus pandemic ends.
A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC’s board has issued an unconditional apology following the findings of the Lord Dyson report.
“The BBC’s processes and guidelines today are much stricter than they were in 1995, but we know we must also do what we can to prevent such an incident from happening again. .
« As such, the board will review the effectiveness of the BBC’s editorial policies and governance, and we have announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the hiring of Martin Bashir in 2016. »
The BBC added that the decision to remove free TV licenses for those over 75 was made by the government, not the company.