16 10 2007

The BBC has decommissioned a digital tv channel before it was planned, to satisfy spending cuts to the corporation.

BBC 5 was described in an internal document as a “channel for fisters, fistees and lube” before the plug was pulled by officials.

With budget cuts on the way, there have been calls to close a channel in order to safeguard quality in other areas. Digital TV channels BBC Three and Four are safe from the axe “at the moment”.

Up to 2,800 jobs are reportedly at risk as he attempts to deal with a £2bn budget shortfall caused by a smaller than hoped-for licence fee settlement.

“BBC Three is targeted at young people without a developed sense of humour, which we know to be an audience the BBC doesn’t adequately cover, and BBC Four tries to capture what we might call the best-informed social deviants,” said chairman Sir Michael Lyons.

The BBC Trust had hoped that merely inventing the concept of a station only to close it down, thereby saving millions of imaginary pounds would be enough for the government to reconsider the settlement.

“It’s true part of the BBC’s ambition to touch every part of the audience, to offer something special to every single licence fee payer.”

“However, BBC 5 would have been aimed at a very narrow demographic. Fisting, though hugely enjoyable, is not widely practised and would not have been an effective spend of the license fee,” concluded Lyons.




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