The BBC – and how it’s always easier to spend other people’s money

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.


Did you know that the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC) spends less than half its budget on making programmes for TV and radio? The BBC has an annual budget of £5.1 billion but just £2.4 billion of this goes on making programmes.

So where does the rest of the money go?

Well, apart from rather a lot of inflated salaries (100 of the top BBC staff earn more than the Prime Minister of the UK), a recent report revealed that £230,000 of licence fee money was spent on tea. Yes, that’s tea, as in the beverage.

Plus, every week, and again I’ll repeat that, every week the BBC spends £100,000 on consultants. These are, apparently, management and public relations consultants. One would have thought that, out of a staff of 16,672 (as at October 2014), there would already be enough managers and public relations people. But no, apparently not.

Oh, and there was that £470,300 which was paid to George Entwistle, the former Director General (the boss in other words) who only held the position for 54 days. I’ll have to leave someone else to work out Mr Entwistle’s hourly rate but I bet it comes in substantially above the UK Government’s Minimum Wage.

The BBC – that’s the British Broadcasting Corporation (please take note of the emphasis on the word British) – also likes to advertise the fact that it offers news in 27 different languages. Now, I know we live in a multicultural society here in Britain, but I rather think the BBC should be aiming its broadcasts at people who speak English i.e. the residents of Britain.


Why does it feel the need to provide news in Swahili or Uzbek or Urdu or even Gaelic? And I haven’t even mentioned Sinhala (what or where is that?) or Kyrgyz or Vietnamese. I’m just wondering how many people in Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan are actually tuning in to this? What’s the BBC’s target market in these countries and, quite honestly, is it worth the time, money and resources?

Just for your information, here’s the languages that the BBC thinks it’s a good idea to spend our (the licence fee payer’s) money on:


  • French
  • Hausa
  • Kirundi
  • Somali
  • Swahili

Asia (Central)

  • Kyrgyz
  • Uzbek

Asia (Pacific)

  • Burmese
  • Chinese
  • Indonesian
  • Japanese
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese
  • UK China

Asia (South)

  • Bengali
  • Hindi
  • Nepali
  • Pashto
  • Sinhala
  • Tamil
  • Urdu


  • Azeri
  • English
  • Gaelic
  • Russian
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Welsh

And, whilst I wouldn’t want to encourage the BBC to offer its news service in any other languages (for surely 27 is enough already), what about our European neighbours in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Denmark, Norway etc etc etc? Why offer a service to people in Vietnam and Burma but not those closer to home? Honestly, where’s the logic?

Now, here’s a definition from the dictionary for you:

Noun: an extravagant trip or celebration, in particular one enjoyed by government officials at public expense.
Verb: attend or go on a trip or celebration at public expense.

Which, I should point out, is in no way relevant to the following:

In 2014 the BBC sent 300 staff to Somerset to cover the annual Glastonbury Music Festival in Somerset, UK. Now, I’m sure you need a fair few people to operate the cameras and do interviews etc, but 300?

Let’s be clear, obviously I’m in no way suggesting that there were any hangers-on, simply tagging along because it was a music festival and there would be lots of alcohol and other stuff freely available, but it does seems like an awful lot of people to cover a weekend music event in the English countryside. I’m left wondering how many of those 300 were lining up to head off to Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or Libya when events perhaps more worthy of some in-depth investigation were taking place. Not too many I’d guess.

And then we come to the BBC’s sponsorship of the African Footballer of the Year.

An African footballer of the year, fine, why not, but why is the BBC involved? How does an  African Footballer of the Year relate to Britain and the British Broadcasting Corporation?

Yes, a few of the players nominated for the award play in the English Premiership but many don’t. Surely the whole ethos of the BBC should be that it should be for the benefit of people in Britain. There must be companies in Africa who could be sponsoring this event, after all it is to celebrate an African footballer not a British one. Why is the UK BBC licence fee payer picking up the bill?

Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond


(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)


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