Gyles Brandreth slams BBC licence fee: ‘If you want billions of taxpayers’ money, earn it’

BBC licence fee 'no longer fit for purpose' says expert

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In June 2019, the BBC came under fire after it announced that free licences for people over the age of 75 would come to an end. TV licences for the over-75s were free from November 2000 until the end of July 2020. From August 2020, free licences have only been available to people aged over-75 who are in receipt of Pension Credit.

The BBC has since sparked an angry reaction from viewers after they announced another change to the voiceovers between programmes.

Last week, the broadcaster unveiled plans to introduce “bespoke” regional voiceovers between programmes in a bid to make the corporation feel less London-centric.

BBC1 shows broadcast in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire will feature announcements made in local accents.

But social media users have heavily mocked the plans, with several saying the move shows the BBC are still out of touch with its audience.

In a recent interview with Radio Times, when asked what he thinks of the BBC’s decision to withdraw free TV licences, 73-year-old Gyles argued that if they want to take advantage of being a public service broadcaster, they need to “earn it”.

“If they’re the public service broadcaster, they have to do the public service thing,” Gyles began.

“If they want the advantages of being a public service broadcaster, which is having billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money coming your way, you’ve got to earn it.

“Providing entertainment and information and education for older people is part of the public service.”

“It’s central to the public service. Otherwise, what’s the point?” he added.

Gyles is a staple resident on the celebrity edition of Gogglebox and appears alongside Coronation Street actress Maureen Lipman.

The Channel 4 series made its comeback last Friday and saw the return of Gyles, Maureen and a few other familiar faces including the likes of Nick Grimshaw and his niece, Liv.

Denise Van Outen and partner Eddie as well as Eammon Holmes and Ruth Langsford also made their return.

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However, there were also a few new faces to the Celebrity Gogglebox line-up including The Voice coaches, Sir Tom Jones and Anne Marie.

Also making an appearance on their sofa were daytime chat show host Lorraine Kelly and her daughter, Rosy.

Speaking about what he was looking forward to watching the most, Gyles added: “I’m hoping, of course, for Naked Attraction.

“I’m hooked now, unfortunately, and I can’t legitimately watch it – my wife won’t watch it because she’s heard from Maureen what it’s like.”


Gyles’ pal Maureen appeared on ITV’s This Morning last week to chat all about the show.

 “I have to say, oh, look, I’ve got the same blouse on, see how I recycled,” she said.

“I thought that I was going into something where I was going to be a sort of female Will Self and I was going to comment on people.

“I didn’t realise they were just going to show us lots and lots of mens’ bits.

“We say really witty things don’t we Gyles and it all gets cut in favour of us going ‘Ew!’ and ‘What’s that? Oh, I didn’t realise people were growing aubergines like that?’”

Gyles’ full interview can be read in the Radio Times.

Celebrity Gogglebox airs Friday on Channel 4 at 9pm.

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