, with a £5 billion annual budget financed by the British public perhaps we have a right to ask a few questions, don't you think?"
5 billion pound budget and a mandatory 155 pounds/yr subscription fee?
You bet you should be asking a few pointed questions.
However, my main point is you guys need to be thinking of solutions, not just bitching and asking questions.
In America, we subscribe to a cable or satellite hdtv service for about $100/month(80 pounds?). There's a dedicated BBC hdtv channel (some great stuff.) that's just one of hundreds available. More channels than you'd ever have the time or desire to watch.
Of course, we do have to suffer through some dreaded commercial advertisements that subsidize the whole service and keeps the rates low. Most here just record their favorite shows and fast-forward past the commercials.
C'mon you guys, this isn't friggin brain surgery.
How about privatizing it? Sell the BBC to HBO, let them pay the typical elaborate budgets for the same very good BBC productions and they broadcast them on their own premium channel.
The UK then sells cable and satellite hdtv franchise rights for specific viewership segments throughout the country, always issuing the rights to at least 2 separate companies per segment to encourage competition and keep subscription fees reasonable. These new hdtv service provider companies finance themselves, are responsible for establishing and maintaining their own networks/equipment and pay a yearly fee for the segment broadcast rights.
Companies throughout the world and the UK would pay the segment hdtv providers to run their commercials. Households would then subscribe to their choice of local providers and pay them a monthly fee, 80-120 pounds depending on how many premium channels selected (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc. that are commercial free).
Only downside is you'd have to tolerate commercials on the hundreds of regular non-premium channels. But each hdtv subscriber is issued a DVR (digital video recorder) with remote, so you could fast-forward through the commercials, too.
You could also add government agencies to regulate the whole shebang, if that floats your boat.