Great Britain

BBC bias! Ranting viewers slam Newsnight's 'leftie luvvie' panel as it reviews licence fee

Ms Toynbee, who has worked at The Guardian since 1998 and stood as a candidate for the Social Democratic Party in the 1983 general election, made an attempt to defend the recent backlash faced by BBC over its licence fee. She drew attention to several reasons, as she put it, as to why the BBC is experiencing a “full-frontal assault” from certain figures including Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing press empire.

She said: “This is a full-frontal assault on the BBC and this has been coming for a long time - Murdoch has been at it for decades.

“His press has been determined to demolish the BBC as competition it didn’t want.

“But, it’s also ideological - the idea that there’s a tremendously successful public organisation owned by all of us kind of affronts the basic principals of a certain kind of right-wing Tory.

“Not lots of Tories, but those kind of far-right wingers, ideological right-wingers in the same way that the success of the NHS affronts them in the gut political way.

Polly Toynbee said the attack on the BBC was hailing from Murdoch's press and was a 'Twitter fight'

Polly Toynbee said the attack on the BBC was hailing from Murdoch's press and was a 'Twitter fight' (Image: BBC)

Toynbee's admission came during her appearance on BBC Newsnight

Toynbee's admission came during her appearance on BBC Newsnight (Image: BBC)

“This is really frightening and dangerous.

“They’re pretending that everyone’s up in arms about the licence fee, it just doesn’t show in all the surveys.

“It is a Twitter fight and a Facebook fight and a Murdoch fight to really destroy the BBC.”

Many reacted furiously to Ms Toynbee’s claims which seemingly buffed up and reinforced their view on their already negative view on the BBC licence fee.

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Toynbee is a columnist for The Guardian and was previously the BBC's social affairs editor

Toynbee is a columnist for The Guardian and was previously the BBC's social affairs editor (Image: GETTY)

One user wrote: “Polly's speech there COMPLETELY sums up why people are exasperated with the BBC:

“’Far right’ ‘Murdoch’ ‘Twitter fight’…

“No. I don't read any Murdoch papers and I'm not "far right" 

“I’m just sad that the BBC I once loved has turned against me. I've seen it with my OWN eyes.”

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Tony Hall is the current director general of the BBC

Tony Hall is the current director general of the BBC (Image: GETTY)

The BBC has faced renewed attacks on its licence fee in recent weeks

The BBC has faced renewed attacks on its licence fee in recent weeks (Image: GETTY)

Another questioned why they should pay the licence fee when the BBC doesn’t seem to cover huge issues that affect the world, and wrote: “There’s no trust.

“When has the BBC covered the yellow vests over the last years protests or the farmers protests in Spain Portugal Holland etc.”

A third user wrote: “Owned by us all you say?

“What power/control do I have over the BBC when it can have me thrown in prison for not coughing up my hard earned money to fund it?

TV licence costs across Europe

TV licence costs across Europe (Image: Express Newspapers )

“Do I have a say on the complete on total dross it pumps out?

“When it’s bias clashes with my beliefs what can I do about it?”

While another said the programme had “two lefties..and probably a lefty presenter”.

Yesterday, the increase in the annual BBC licence fee was reported, showing that from April, Britons who own televisions will pay £157.50 from up £154.50.

The government is thinking about decriminalising the penalty for non-payment

The government is thinking about decriminalising the penalty for non-payment (Image: GETTY)

The government is responsible for setting the licence fee and announced in 2016 it would rise in line with inflation for five years from 1 April 2017.

The new fee works out as £3.02 a week or £13.13 a month, and will not impact on the free over-75s TV licence.

On Wednesday, culture minister, Nicky Morgan, hinted that the licence fee could be scrapped after the next review of its royal charter, with a consultation being held to decide on whether non-payment should be decriminalised.

She said: “As we move into an increasingly digital age ... the time has come to think carefully about how we make sure the TV licence fee remains relevant.”