back to article BBC must reveal EastEnders costs

The Information Commissioner's Office has ordered the BBC to release information about the salaries of the stars and other staff at soap opera EastEnders. The Beeb had previously refused to give out the information, which was requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The corporation said salary data was not covered by …


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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I reckon it is..

    ... about £20.5m a year. But that is only a conservative estimate.

  3. Booty Inspector

    What I'd like to know is...

    ...exactly how much of my money they're paying their lawyers, to help them avoid telling me how much of my money they're spending on that drivel.

    Or is that too much to ask as well?

    Mine's the donkey jacket, because I must be a donkey to keep paying the license fee.

  4. Louis Cowan

    telly licence

    I'm fed up paying for these BBC execs giving themselves their annual wage again in annual bonuses. The BBC used to be respectable, but after seeing these fools award themselves so much money, the sooner it's dismantled, the better

  5. Craig McCormick
    Thumb Down

    Going by...

    ... how much they pay Jonny Woss, It's going to be astronomical. They do like to throw our money at things.

  6. Steve Poll


    another buch of self serving robbing b*st*rds taking money without asking if I want to buy their product.

    The sooner the TV (tax) license is scrapped the better

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Really should be excluded from FOI requests.

    I don't care how much they spend on Eastenders, it'll never be something I want to watch, but then there are other things that I do enjoy.

    The real question is "do we trust the BBC trustees?"

    It's their job to make sure that the BBC is continuing to dumb down this nation...

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Wouldn't mind paying license for something worthy but Eastenders ?

    this is visual torture

    What is it about people that get drowned in this sort of utter useless waste of time

    ahh Useless uncreative overworked population is possibly why..

    I mean what is achieved from watching the likes of these soaps I always do question this ?

    What was gained knowledge? wealth? (only for stars) I would prefer to be a geek and write 100 lines of code than torment myself watching the nonsense

    And what I think of is exactly what this whole topic is all about - a bunch of people pretending to be poor and at the end of the ladder and yet taking home a few millions a year .....

    PLEASE please sort out this thing called TELL LIE VISION LOL

    I pay it and tend to watch Film4 or own media very rarely do i watch the actual TV.

  9. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Up

    Whatever it is ...

    ... it's probably less than equivalently-popular US shows.

    Given that 8m people watch it each time it's on, if it did cost £20m per year it would work out as £2.50 per viewer per year. Roughly equivalent to one pint of beer, half a gallon of petrol, 3 songs from iTMS, or about 1/6 of a DVD. For an entire year of EastEnders, 3 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

    Yeah let's dismantle the BBC, it clearly doesn't give good value for money.

  10. Liam


    to be honest if that is what the est end is like i wish the germans had finished it off in the war! although it really does enforce the fact that london is a horrible place, full of miserable idiots (wonder why most people hate going to london?)

    what a bunch of complete wankers on that show! for me eastenders is one of the reasons for society's downfall. just look at the examples set by all the characters!

    for me wages for the bbc should be covered and detailed as the license fee is a TAX, not a paid for service like anything else! same for all civil service etc... there arent businesses as they dont have to run competitively!

    i guess its ridiculous sums of money that are thrown at these talentless idiots!

    johnny woss is ok, but is he worth best part of £20M for his 2 hours a week on TV? is it me or does the RADIO use a shitload of TV license money?

    i mean with wogan, moyles, mills and woss how many millions are leeched there? surely this is anti-competitive to commercial radio? how many radio stations in the UK can pay their presenters MILLIONS of pounds a year for a 3 hour working day...

    make ya sick doesnt it?

    mines the one with poisoned jellied eels in the pocket

  11. David Webb

    I'm with the BBC

    Doesn't the actors, writers etc. have any right to privacy about how much they are paid? I wouldn't really want my wage to be in the public domain because some person with an axe to grind thought it was in the "public interest" to know. An overall figure of the wage budget sure, but "Grant Mitchell" or whoever "earns £150,000 per year, plus £50,000" etc. is just really tasteless.

    MP's yes, private citizens who are just doing a job that is not in the public interest? No.

  12. Mike Brown

    leave the bbc alone!!!!!

    Im getting mighty fed up with all the BBC bashing that goes on. I love the BBC and dont mind paying the tenner a month to access all the quality output they have. Yes i dont like it all, but there is a lot i love. Dr Who, BBCi,, BBCHD, Planet Earth, Galapogos, Wild china, the real hustle, match of the day, wimbledon. etc etc etc etc...........

  13. Henry

    Axe the Licence - if you want sh*te TV

    Axe the licence and not only will the Beeb's content slide down the quality scale, but that of their competitors too (why bother producing drama at all if there's no beeb - reality TV and game shows are far cheaper).

    Having watched US and European TV quite a bit, I think the current licence fee is a bargain.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    I'll take the job if it's £25 per hour (£450 or 18 hours work).

    = £52,000 pa.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @Craig McCormick

    "... how much they pay Jonny Woss, It's going to be astronomical."

    Sigh. Why does everybody believe the rubbish printed in this country's "news" papers.

    The high figures quoted for Ross are what gets paid to his production company to deliver the complete show. I've heard it quoted as "about average" compared to the amount required to do the same thing in-house.

    I'm not suggesting Ross is anywhere near the breadline, but then why should he be? Plenty of viewers are happy with the job he does, otherwise the BBC would cancel his show.

  16. Chad H.

    I'm with Henry

    As an Ozzie living in the UK, I'll take UK TV with the license fee over slowly-dying australian TV anyday! Hustle, Spooks, Life on Mars, These things, and more, wouldnt exist in a BBC free world.

  17. Stuart
    Thumb Down

    Don't let them know ...

    Yep - I hate EE too. But I bet the Beeb spend far more per viewer on the stuff I watch. You know Arts, Farts & stuff. If the EE-luvvers ever get to realise how much they are subsidising the literati it will be blank screens for anyone with more than half-a-brain.

  18. Seán

    Don't fuck with the BBC

    Look at SKY, now look at the BBC.

    Now kneel down in front of your TV and apologise to the BBC for ever thinking such terrible thoughts about it. The BBC is more religion than corporate entity. Saint Ezterranzen saved the people from false profits. Saint David Attenborough, OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS compiled a bestiary for his people. Vic'n'Bob drank 75 pints while singing for children's charity.

  19. pbhj

    it's not how much, it's that they don't know how much ...

    The worst is not that they don't want to tell us how much*, it's that they claim they don't know how much the program costs them to make. This in turn strongly suggests that management is completely inept - no commercial enterprise could ever do a project the size of Eastenders and not know the wages bill on it. They clearly don't care how much of the TV tax they use. This is a very strong argument for reducing the license fee - watching the wage bill is one of the most important parts of running a business.

    I think they're lying through their arses.


    * = do a inner join with the list of Eastenders actors + crew + production team, do a sum - take about 5 minutes, 35 if you have to list the people out manually by name and you can't just cut and paste the list; how do they make it all work without employing any DB admins?

  20. Lee

    @Mike Brown

    You might be getting fed up with people bashing the BBC and happy to pay a tenner, but I am not.

    I don't see why we should pay for the BBC, I'd prefer it if they had adverts and it was free like the rest of the free to air channels? I agree with your comments SOME of their output is good, but most of it isn't.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nation shall speak cretin unto cretin

    sorry chaps, but eastenders appears to be very popular, i loathe the foulsome nonsense, who told them that conflict == drama? i fear for the very young who must get majorly stressed-out whilst watching it with mummy, has anyone ever done research into cortisone levels with this tirade of petty bitching and heartfelt murderous oaths?

    that said, wild china and attenborough are fantastic, and quite a few other things, but FFS what did they think when they got that moron gardener bloke to "do" attenborough? oooh, and don't mention the "gay Jim Davidson" bloke who's on night and day, [retch, puke] - not that i'm phobic, Lily Savage is a scream and a superb wit, Norton isn't.

  22. Andrew Roberts
    Thumb Down

    If they want public money their full records should be public

    I'm sure I read somewhere that Eastenders costs £250,000 to make.

    Per episode...

    It's by far the most expensive programme they air.

    My tax money (it's a TV tax, not a licence, let's not kid ourselves) should not be spent on soap operas.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @Mike Brown

    ... I'm glad you like the BBC, but the problem is that those of us who dont are taxed to pay for it.

    Also @Henry, there needn't be a total axe of the BBC. It could be slimmed down the news portion and public announcement remit it started for (i.e. somewhere to show the queens speech).

    The BBC is a bloated waste of money trading on its past reputation. It is little better than a commercial entity anyway, so why not allow it to be one and stop fleecing us for owning a tele!

  24. Chris
    Thumb Up

    @BBC DBA

    I'll take the job at the BBC just because they claim it takes more than 18 hours (or £450) to figure out an average and a range on a list of salaries.

    Man, I could do that with pad and pencil in well under 18 hours.

  25. Tony Barnes
    Thumb Down

    Surely wouldn't take that long?

    1. Take a dump of the info from IMDB -

    2. Pick a year and create a filter

    3. Build and run a macro in Excel to pull payment details from whatever programme they're held in and dump onto spreadsheet

    4. Have cup of tea and biscuit, maybe a little stroll round BBC headquarters

    5. Hand over costs as requested with 17hrs to spare...

    Even me, an IT dimwit could happy do that... someone with some sense and database skills would have far less trouble!!!

    Big, fat, joke :(

  26. The Mighty Spang
    Thumb Down

    general points

    20m? don't make me laugh. In one of Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipes they costed that one episode (of screen wipe). came in at 50k.

    no big name stars, no sets, virtually no props, a couple of writers, tiny crew (in fact the crew featuring in the show as extras).

    "Axe the licence and not only will the Beeb's content slide down the quality scale"

    what from it's current high platform? it's TV is 95% utter crap. Give up your telly, come and join me listening to Radio 4.

    "Yes i dont like it all, but there is a lot i love. Dr Who, BBCi,, BBCHD" is too big and costing too much money. the news site has gone down the bog featuring "sleb" stories on the front page (i.e. will tom cruise eat the placenta? and oh shock apparantly hes got a film coming out). BBCi and BBCHD. yeah nice but guess what they cost a packet of money (the HD upgrade will cost a bucket) and did you hear people before sitting at home moaning about either of these things not being there? no they moan about PISS POOR PROGRAMMES. All this money is being spent on bells and whistles and what it needs to spend it on is DECENT WRITERS and boot out the assholes who continually commision the same type of dross and employ the same pool of 4 actors over and over again.

    shooting in HD increases the cost of any production (sets, effects, lighting, makeup etc has to be soooo much better = more expensive) which means that the beeb will be MORE reticent to take a chance on new shows so hurrah for the same old crap from here to eternity.

  27. John

    Why.. it in the public interest to know what individual actors get paid buy for the show, as someone else mentioned just release the full budget for actor wages but there is no need for it to be individualised. I sure as hell wouldn't want my salary being publicly available "Just 'Cos"

    Sure I don't like a bunch opf the shows on the BBC, but I do like plenty of it, along with the radio and such. Break up the BBC and I can imagine it would have a dramatic affect on the quality of shows on UK TV, there sure wouldn't be anything like the big production costume dramas that go down so well, instead fast cheap shows that bring the bucks.. Big Brother Clone mk46 etc.

    Monitor the Beeb, spank the trustees and ensure it is doing its job as directed, but quit kicking it.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The BBC, in general, offers great value for money but...

    what does Easterenders offer? I don't know as I don't watch it or corrie(?) or other "Soaps" and maybe that's my problem. From what I hear they're a bit shallow - even if entertaining.

    That the BBC want to maintain confidential "commercially" sensitive data is appropriate but a bit silly. What they really mean is they don't want their profligacy to be come public knowledge - and I'd guess that is bad PR because it feeds cynicism and it'll probably come out somewhere in the end.

  29. Michael


    select sum(salary)

    from ACON

    where empID in (123,543,264,253,...,824,726)

    It's not that hard, folks...

  30. pctechxp


    If everyone stopped paying the licence fee, the BBC would be bankrupt, end of legalised robbery.

    The only thing decent they put out is Top Gear but that isn't worth the 120+ a year.

    But we need to all do it though because they cant stick us all in jail.

    Viva la revoluition

  31. John Dougald McCallum

    Carping about the BBC

    "I'm sure I read somewhere that Eastenders costs £250,000 to make.

    Per episode" And how many people work on Dead Enders? From the actors to the apprentice sparky/Gopher(go fer this go fer that)

    "what from it's current high platform? it's TV is 95% utter crap" Ah but which 95% ask any group of armchair pundits and you will get differant answers each time.

    I don't see why we should pay for the BBC, I'd prefer it if they had adverts and it was free like the rest of the free to air channels.Just wach ITV scream Anti Competative at the Govm'nt

    "It could be slimmed down the news portion and public announcement remit it started for (i.e. somewhere to show the queens speech)."

    The BBC started of as a comercial broadcaster in the 1920,s as 2LO its call sign it wasent until the gov'mnt wanted a mouthpiece that it became a Public Broadcaster and got gov'mnt money Radio Licence then(and don't think for one moment that the same gov'mnt will give up on the Licence fee if the BBC did go back to being a "commercial" station after all how much do you think it is raking in now even at 37P per day per licence aprox 50 million fee payers=£6,752,500,000 per year

    This assumes that all housholds and holels etc pay up .

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. simon gardener

    Thank goodness for the license fee

    I've spent time living abroad and have seen tv in a number of countries and in my opinion having a tax payer funded tv system results in far superior tv networks.

    Not only does it allow the BBC to make programs that wouldnt be made commercially but it forces the other stations to make an attempt to put out quality programming. News and documentaries would be the first real casualties. Drama next. Locally produced content would dwindle if it wasn't regulated.

    Sure, theres a lot of rubbish on all channels, BBC included. Sadly the days of 3 channels , all of whom shut down for part of the day - are long gone.

    ironically most of the people here who complain are probably paying 30 quid plus a month for Sky.

    If all the football fans out there had held off for a couple of years when sky/bsb bid outrageous amounts of money for the footie - because that was the only way they could get people to sign up - then they would have failed and you wouldnt have to be paying a fortune to sky every year - Grandstand would still be showing the major matches and that would all be included in your license fee.

    but no - you piled into sky and bsb and now whinge about the excellent value for money the Beeb represents

    "more choice" the politicians and business people promised us ? more channels meant more time to fill and fragmenting audiences which mean lower budgets for shows, meaning lower quality and all the time the newer channels bidding higher amounts against each other for the top shows and you are paying more for it all the time

    we should have stopped at channel 4

    and dont get me started on digital delivery with its terrible compression . Whats the point of HiDef if its compressed to hell and looks like crap ?

  34. Peter Rowan
    Thumb Up

    What are you anti BBC lot talking about

    The licence fee pays for a largest news journalist coverage in the world, with quality journalists instead of ones who will plug the latest product from the advertiser. I am in France where there is a limited licence fee and the programmes here are crap, the sports and films have so many adverts you can go for a pint down the pub and still get back before the next part starts.

    You anti licence lot are always the same complaining about the tax and that you are paying too much, and then expecting the best service and quality when the time comes. You anti BBC lot do not realise, but a lot of people watch East Enders, just because you don't, I am sure you have watched the BBC in the year or listened to the radio in some form. If you don't want to pay then get rid of your tv. You will get the radio for free and let everyone else pay for your entertainment. I miss the BBC and if I could would pay for access to UK TV instead of the crap I get here.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    In other countries, The TV fee pays for

    RTE is the public service in Ireland - the Tv license pays for .. news like "The Economy", "Politics " and CRAIC -

    Mines the one with Craic in the pocket

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work there

    I've had this conversation with friends who work for the BBC and from what they say there is an alarming amount of waste goes on in those nice shiny buildings, a very tall management structure, with a lot of nest-feathering going on towards the top (bumper bonuses) while there's people fighting for their jobs at the bottom (the folks who actually MAKE the programs)

    In recent years there have been huge job cuts and some fairly rough sounding outsourcings and sell-offs (BBC Broadcast turning into Red Bee Media, BBC Technology being sold to Siemens, Outside Broadcasts going to SIS, HR and Finance to Capita and probably a multitude of others I don't know about). I don't understand why these sell-offs are allowed, because surely if someone else can do a given job for a given quantity of cash AND make a profit on that, why can't the BBC do it themselves and spend the profit making more programs instead of repeating old ones. The same more or less applies to using independent production companies, somewhere along the line someone is making a profit out of the BBC. The irony is, the BBC isn't allowed to make a profit (or a loss for that matter).

    Personally, I think the license fee is fantastic value. Ok there's loads of stuff on the beeb which is garbage, but there's also a huge amount of really good TV and Radio (BTW Liam----Of course radio gets paid for out of the TV license....where else would they get their money.....the end of a rainbow???)

  37. Gerrit Hoekstra

    Is that the Monatary or the Social cost?

    This is hardly an uplifting tale of succesful mockneys, is it now? A tawdry refuge for the witless and workshy, more likely.

    Mine's the one with the Job Centre logo.

  38. The Mighty Spang

    you're not getting it

    "what from it's current high platform? it's TV is 95% utter crap" Ah but which 95% ask any group of armchair pundits and you will get differant answers each time.

    try one that understands what "public service broadcasting" means. it means catering for things outside what commercial TV can provide. E.g. in this case we are talking about Eastenders. Completely commerical. Jonathon Ross. So we pay him millions of pounds a year so fucktard US "actors" can come along, "reveal" little of their private lives so they can advertise the crappy film they are in? Radio 2 is the most popular station in the UK. How much do we pay Wogan et al? for a station that could easily be on the commercial channels. Local radio? ok we employ say 100 gobshites up and down the country to play the same damn records in large expensive studios.... leave that to the commerical operators, because they are out there.

    PSB is about providing things that commerical channels don't. a bit like channel 4 was in its early days. I heard a bloke on the radio yesterday defending the executive bonuses because they produced "gavin and stacey". considering all the scripts that go into the BBC was that the best? no it's just with "names" attached they could get publicity.

    "The licence fee pays for a largest news journalist coverage in the world, with quality journalists instead of ones who will plug the latest product from the advertiser"

    right so i was fucking dreaming the other day when i was in a hotel, switched on the telly to morning news to find a live linkup (i.e. expensive satellite time) to find a "reporter" broadcasting live from italy..... about wayne rooney's wedding. cue filmed section about him trying to get in somewhere and being stopped. cut back to 8.30am in italy where fuck all is happening for a bloke to tell me fuck all is happening. don't you think that's #1 a waste of money and #2 indicitive of where BBC news is going in the commerical era? as for advertiser - see above about jonathon ross.

    and daytime telly... grrr

    right my plan is:

    keep radio 4

    keep most of radio 3

    keep bits of radio 2 (i.e. the programmed comedy etc)

    keep most of BBC4

    keep bits of BBC2

    have 1 tv channel thats used for PSB and programme development. If they stumble across a hit like say ground force, it gets sold to the commericals to fund more PSB and experimental stuff

    shouldnt cost more than £20-30 a year.

  39. Steve Roper
    IT Angle

    What nobody here has noticed: Exploitable loophole

    "Organisations are not obliged to spend more than £450 or 18 hours dealing with individual requests."

    This get-out clause effectively renders the whole principle of FoI absolutely worthless. Think about it. All you need do to defeat FoI requests is to so obfuscate your database structure that to gain any coherent information out of it requires more than this amount of money and/or time. It seems the BBC has already adopted this approach, as noted in the article:

    "But each performer has their own card - there is no way to search for "all EastEnders". With 331 performers over the course of a year each of their cards would need to be checked for their performance fee and repeat fee. All this information would need to be re-entered, probably into Excel, in order to get the figures requested."

    Further access to critical information can also be set up so it requires "authorisation" from a committee of admins and this authorisation has an "administrative fee" in excess of £450... Presto! Organisation is now effectively legally immune to any and all FoI requests.

    And there, I guess, is your IT angle!

  40. Lorenz Kahl

    Re Axe the Licence - if you want sh*te TV

    In NZ they do not have a licence fee and every station is littered with crappy adverts every 10 minutes or so. And because there are so few advertisers, they are the same ones over and over and over again. The most decent programs shown are generally imports from the BBC, and sometimes ITV.

    I have the BBC News website open all day and welcome some non-parochial news content.

    I'd pay a fee here if it meant better TV without incessant adverts.

  41. tony trolle

    licence fee

    do it like channel 4; tax on adverts.

  42. Gerrit Tijhof


    The UK license fee is great value. At least it's not hidden in tax (like in the Netherlands) and no commercials (like we have in the Netherlands).

    Why not complain about Dr. Who or Torchwood? As expensive as well probably, yet less viewers.

    Mine's the one that has "I'd rather be in Sidcup" embroidered on the back.

  43. Andy Senyszyn

    What I object to... that I have NO SAY in whether this is produced or not and is paid for by me or not - You are FORCED to purchase a TV license regardless of watching BBC or not.

    No-one forces me to have Sky and all it's adverts, but then no-one else gives me live premiership football (OK, Setanta do, but you know) or movies that aren't 4 years old, or the breadth of CHOICE (Family Guy on FX, News 24/7 from numerous providers - pick your angle, Documentaries, Cooking shows for the missus 24/7, cartoons for the kids...okay, I mean me!)

    Yes you pay more and the ads can be a bore... but with me Sky + box I don't notice them - and with their cheapest package now, I think mere mortals get all SKy bar the premium content with phone and broadband for £26pm.

    Suddenly that £10... no sorry, £12 ish per month the Beeb ask for, no no no, TAKE from me every month looks a bit sorry!

    This poxy government tells us it's the era of choice - you can apparently choose which doctor you're going to sue when your NHS boob job goes wrong nowadays...

    ...but you can't choose where you get your TV from - b*ll*cks.

    And to all those yank bashers and BBC-Dr-Who-Lovers... US TV has much higher production value than anything here (Star Treks, 24, Sopranos, even the Simpsons) and they make do with the ads and then you know you're gonna buy a box set anyway! What's popular earns it's corn, what's crap dies - Eastenders would die if it's legion of loonatic watchers (sorry luv! The missus' watches now and then) had to cough up for it. Trust me, if Fox or Paramount or even Sky thought Dr. Who or Top Gear was worth a punt, they'd pick up the rights and they'd make it... If the BBC had to compete on a level playing field (charging per month where customers could vote with their feet) then they'd be screwed.

    Here's hoping...

  44. Danny Traynor

    You've got to ask yourselves

    If you had the choice of saving ten quid a month and not having access to BBC1, 2, HD, all the digital channels, all the BBC productions shown on other channels such as Discovery etc,, iplayer, Live news from journalists around the world, coverage of F1, Tennis, Football, Rugby, elections, etc would you *really* keep the money?

    Personally, I think the BBC represents superb value, even if I don't watch EE.

  45. Panos

    £12/month? That's a bargain for what you get!

    £12/month for the BBC. Is that a lot? You get a lot more than Eastenders. You get Top Gear, Doctor Who, Little Britain, Mock the Week, all the Attenborough programms (but I guess most of the Reg's readers are far too busy having sex with their PDAs to notice anything in the natural world so they wouldn't be interested) plus the fact that you can watch a program without having to stop every 5 minutes to learn about the latest advances in washing powder and the cheeky chaps at Phones.

    As for those saying why do they pay their people so much, well, fine, cut their salaries to Nuts TV levels, then they all go so you end up paying £12/month for really rubbish TV. Go and watch some US and European TV. Tenths, hundreds of TV stations showing recycled rubbish, series from the 70s, budget movies from the 80s, game shows and news ripped off from BBC, CNN and Sky because they can't afford their own reporters.

    £12/month is a bargain for what you get: I probably watch on average 1 hour of TV a day and I still think it's a bargain, especially as 9/10 times it is BBC.

    If you want to complain about something, complain about council tax. That costs 10x as much and all you get is a broken pavement in front of your house, closed schools and ever expanding "controlled-parking zones".

  46. Mark

    Re: I'm with the BBC

    The BBC are as much the cause of this as anyone.

    £18m over three years to Jonathan Ross? He's good, but not that good (tm).

    Chris Moyes? Same thing.

    Terry Wogan? Same.

    Then after all that, they tell everyone that they need to pay big money to the execs to get the best talent.

    Which doesn't make sense anyway: will a crap lighing artist be OK if the exec is well paid? If they have half-arsed set designers, is that OK as long as the head of light entertainment is the best there is?

    Or should they be offering more money to the workers so that they can make better products? And if better products is not needed, reduce the pay of the execs MORE than they do the rank and file.

  47. Ros


    Eastenders is one of the programmes the BBC uses to train up the writers of the future. Another is Doctors. So it's not just dodgy entertainment, it's an investment in all the future dodgy dramas they might choose to produce in the future, a sort of trainee programme and talent-spotting rolled into one. I think trainee writers spend a year doing "shadow" scripts before they get to write stuff that actually gets used. I learnt this at a workshop with one of the BBC commissioning editors.

    So whatever the actors are paid, the writers won't be getting a lot because they're mostly trainees.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Scrap all the soaps

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for an 'accident' at the soap awards which wipes out all the 'stars' so we don't have to put up with this rubbish anymore.

    Mines the one with the rucksack...

  49. Mark
    Thumb Up

    BBC Glastonbury coverage was excellent

    When you compare the poor job that channel4 used to do the BBC's coverage of glastonbury this year was almost worth the licence fee alone. The BBC is great but they still overpay some people.

  50. Cody

    If its so great, why does it have to be compulsory?

    Why do we not take the BBC into pay-tv? Isn't this where it belongs? You want to watch it, subscribe. You don't, don't.

    People are all the time saying how much they like it. I like it too. That doesn't mean it should be compulsory to subscribe to it. I like sardines in hot chile sauce. I don't demand that everyone in the country should pay £5 a week and take delivery of a couple of tins, whether they like them, or not, whether they eat them or not.

    What is with you guys? Why do you want to make everyone buy what you want to buy? Do you want people to subsidize your particular brand of car, or bands, or newspapers too?

    What I want is for me to be able to subscribe, without feeling I am ripping off everyone who is now forced to, but doesn't want it. Like, why should broadcasting be any different from any other service which I buy or not, as I feel inclined?

  51. Anonymous Coward

    who are these people

    aaah 'deadenders' dumb program written by well meaning middle class types with no 'idea' how 'ordinary' people live apart from some fluffy image they have of the great unwashed spending all of their time in the pub and never locking their doors..aah the salt of the earth..

    and another thing.. if they all work on market stalls and in 'said' pub how come they own properties which would be worth close half a million in the current market..

    i'll get mi donkey jacket n'all..i'm off down't pit.

  52. Edward Rose

    BBC ain't awful

    @Andy Senyszyn

    According to the license agency you should pay the tax wether you have TV or not. Nice little bullies.

    Okay, I don't have TV, so don't pay the license - but for what you get it is fair money.

    However, money aside, beastenders (oh sorry, beast makers) is a horrific pile of crap. The show sets the example that vicious nasty bitching is the way forwards. It should be forced to calm down and show functional families actually enjoying life. More viewers would follow suit. They can still have drama, there's plenty to be had for nice happy people, just ban this 'lets turn the country into uncaring nasty little shits' drive.

    BBC should be used to educate (news, infomercials and learning - Robot wars but with a more design oriented view), and make sure people keep laughing. Comedies like RedDwarf and Bl'adders were brilliant, and more like that would be great (laughter IS important for the health).

  53. Mark

    Re: £12/month? That's a bargain for what you get!

    I gave up the TV (and am not all that suprised to find that the BBC spend £351m in collecting the money) when they dumbed down all the informational stuff, upped the buy-in and the soap quotient and THEN paid camelot to put their ball-bouncing idiot tax machine on the BBC rather than ITV.

  54. Mikey

    If you like the BBC so much why don't you go and live there?

    I came here to say that it's not so much the cost, it's that they affect not to KNOW how much.

    Given that my central point's already been made, Here's another (slighter) one: If the BBC's as marvellous as some people think it is, it should presumably be able to hold its own in a commercial environment - so why don't we make the licence fee optional and make the broadcasts encrypted in the same way that (for example) UK Gold et al are on Freeview right now?

    Bear in mind also that the licence fee is subsidizing the BBC's gingantic online operation, which is available worldwide, but only paid for by UK television owners.

  55. Louis Cowan

    Loss of custom to other companies

    I wonder how many other companies (such as Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, ITV, Sky, Virgin Media etc) are losing business through people refusing to own a TV due to a compulsory TV tax (which is all going to the BBC)?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A Discerning Viewer

    At an age in single figures (can't remember if I was 6 or 8) my mother caught me glued to the test card. She asked why it was that I didn't watch one of the other (two) channels and my reply was, "there's nothing better on". We have more channels today, but there is still nothing better on. I miss the test card (There is a webpage dedicated to it if anyone is interested).

    I missed it so much I dumped the telly a few years ago and now can say in all honesty that the licence fee is worth every single penny... that I don't pay. As for Eastenders, I hated that crap from the very start and grew to despise every actor that "graced" it's scripts as it degenerated quickly into a hideous parody of the worst in antisocial behaviour, constant verbal bullying and a succesion of miserable Christmas specials. When I travel to the ancestral pile I like to call my second home (every couple of months) I get an opportunity to catch up on the soaps... it takes about 30 seconds per flavour. Then it's news24 or a movie.

  57. Mark

    re: Loss of custom to other companies

    I suspect the loss Virgin/Sky/etc are under are due to having even WORSE shite on than the BBC.

    In fact, the main reason why the BBC is getting so crap is because they are told they have to chase ratings to justify themselves. Which means the follow the mouth-breathing lowest common denominator.

    They only stay alive because so many mouth-breathers MUST WATCH FOOTBALL and Sky bid up to cover every single match. So BBC2 gets to cover snooker or Extreme Macrame.

    Check the difference between the intellectually stimulating stuff of the 80's like

    De Bono's thinking course


    Tomorrows world


    Life on Earth

    compared with the dross you get now (TW toward the end was TERRIBLE). All the intellectual stuff is no "infotainment" with whizzy graphics and no substance.

    Because they're chasing ratings and if you aim low, you include the low-brow and mid-brow and for some level of boredom, the high-brow clientele. But if you aim for the high-brow, the low-brow can't follow.

  58. James

    The BBC is a world leading service and should be cherished.

    Yet more beeb bashing from Register readers. This is what happens when you spoil children, they are never happy. Travel a bit, go to Europe, America (especially), Australia, Asia, anywhere, and you will find watching the TV a lot worse than here. You will also find a large number of BBC programmes.

    Take away the BBC and the other terrestrial TV stations would descend into what SKY and plenty of the other digital channels are. 5 minutes of programming spaced with 5 minutes of adverts, it is HIGHLY annoying. (Watch gladiators and see what I mean).

    Soon people will be wishing they had the BBC back.

    @Louis Cowan

    Probably a negligible amount.

    At least we don't have state owned TV. Like Iran et al.

  59. jim

    It's not that bad really

    For the 3 or 4 programmes on BBC that I watch, I think it's good value for money. If I was paying for any of the other channels, like Channel 4 for instance, then I would be aggrieved. Apart from Gordon Ramsay there categorically isn't any other regular programming I deem "worth watching" on 3, 4 or 5. At least we get some sort of variety, but maybe that's where the problem lies. Not everyone will like everything that's on the BBC and we seem to live in a country where a lot of people like to make out how "hard done by" they are. I'd rather pay a tenner a month to watch 2 or 3 decent shows a week and the occasional film that aren't interrupted by some plank telling me how amazing their hairspray, toothpaste, cars etc... are every 15 minutes.

  60. Liam
    Thumb Down

    @ JAMES...

    "Yet more beeb bashing from Register readers. This is what happens when you spoil children, they are never happy. Travel a bit, go to Europe, America (especially), Australia, Asia, anywhere, and you will find watching the TV a lot worse than here. You will also find a large number of BBC programmes." - this is one of our point mate. you get to see stuff WE have to PAY for...

    we are forced to pay ~£120/year for 2 channels (3 and 4 never have anything on when i look - apart from 2 pints and a packet of crisps) - they cannot spread their content over 2 channels yet feel the need to have 4 and HD. HD is almost always just repeats of music (which isnt as bad as it sounds as its dolby digital signal - cat steven was on recently and was AMAZING!)

  61. Bruce Sinton
    Paris Hilton

    Are you all Males ?

    I think you probably are.

    I have never watched it, but my Wife and Daughter do.

    This is in NZ, must be some nostalgia for the old countryl

    My Wife even loves the Royal Family.

    I love Paris.

  62. Stratman
    Thumb Down

    @ jim

    "If I was paying for any of the other channels, like Channel 4 for instance, then I would be aggrieved."

    You ARE paying for Channel 4. Every time you go shopping. You are also paying for ITV1,2 3 and 4, and you are also paying for Sky, whether or not you are a subscriber.

  63. Ash Horton


    You might like to check out this link

  64. jim

    @ Stratman

    I go shopping for important supplies and stuff. Like food and cleaning products. I don't know what the money I spend in supermarkets or clothes shops or music stores get spent on. Nor do I really care, I have the products I paid for so they can dio whatever like with the money I gave them as it is technically theirs anyway. If they use some of it to pay Channel 4 for advertising space on a show that I don't watch to advertise a product I've already bought then the joke's on them in my book.

  65. jim


    So what do you do when you buy a pint of milk? Ask for a complete transcript of where your 60-70p is going after it has left your pocket?

    I'm also pretty sure that me not caring what supermarkets give out for advertising isn't going to cause me to lose my job. Where I work don't have shares in retail. Or Channel 4. A few too many presumptions there, or one too many at least.

    So a bit of TV is funded from money used by us to buy stuff, loads of other things are funded by similar means. Its called free enterprise. Where have you been?

  66. Graham Wood


    That sums up the problem really well. I watch BBC3/BBC4 a lot more than I watch 1/2 anymore. I watch BBC News a reasonable amount as well.

    I saw an interesting topic that was due to be covered in Horizon a few weeks back - and regret watching it. It's reduced to the level of a US docu-soap. The "investigations" are so shallow it's painful, the "human factor" is more important than the facts, and heaven forbid that the results not match the flashy title that someone seems to have picked in advance.

    To my mind '2 pints and a packet of crisps' is pointless drivel - in the same league as 'stenders and 'The ONE Show'. However, I appreciate that there are a fair number of people in the UK that DO like them (like you for at least one of the shows), and therefore since I live in a democracy I have to accept that my voice can be "out-voted". Since it means I do get shows like Dr Who, Torchwood, QI (thank god for QI), and Top Gear (my escapism/'dross') it seems like a small price to pay.

    My one complaint - the 'good' programs seem to be "dumbing down" to meet popular demand, rather than existing to inform. This (I can only assume) is to increase their appeal to other countries, and therefore increase the revenue that the BBC gets from selling them elsewhere.

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