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BBC says it WON’T make programmes aimed at older viewers

BBC says it WON’T make programmes aimed at older viewers because ‘their tastes are too varied’ – as it ploughs £40m into BBC Three relaunch aimed at the young

  • BBC said ‘enjoyment is a very personal matter’ and older viewers like a range  
  • The remarks emerged in a reply to a disgruntled 55-year-old licence fee payer 
  • Corporation is relaunching BBC Three as channel to appeal to younger viewers 

The BBC has said it will not create programmes that cater specifically for older audiences because their taste in TV is just too ‘varied’.   

Formulating a catch-all criteria that appeals to senior viewers would be virtually impossible as ‘enjoyment is a very personal matter’, the Corporation added. 

The remarks came in a reply to a 55-year-old licence fee payer who wrote to director-general Tim Davie bemoaning the lack of content for people of their age.

The broadcaster’s response raised eyebrows as it is currently pumping £40million to reincarnate BBC Three in a bid to attract younger audiences. 

This approach emerged in a reply to a 55-year-old licence fee payer who wrote to director-general Tim Davie (pictured) bemoaning the lack of content for people of their age

A recently BBC published strategy vowed to make ‘more young-appealing British drama and comedy, entertainment and events’. 

But the letter from the Audience Services department said the BBC’s ‘approach has to be general and broad’ and could not feasibly target older viewers.

‘We find that tastes in older age groups vary just as much as those in any other age range – for example, some older viewers prefer quizzes, soaps and lighter programmes whilst others prefer more cultural or factual programmes,’ it said. 

The disgruntled viewer’s initial letter, first reported by the Daily Telegraph, accused the BBC of constantly trying to lure younger audiences at the expense of older ones.

It read: ‘If the Corporation is keen on fairness and inclusivity, perhaps representing those who are major consumers of television would be a good place to start.’

Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, branded the BBC’s response ‘bizarre and inadequate’.

As a solely online channel, BBC Three created hits like the series Normal People (pictured), which was the BBC's most streamed programme on iPlayer last year, racking up an impressive 63million views

As a solely online channel, BBC Three created hits like the series Normal People (pictured), which was the BBC’s most streamed programme on iPlayer last year, racking up an impressive 63million views

BBC Three’s budget is being increased ahead of its relaunch as a fully-fledged terrestrial TV channel early next year.

As a solely online channel, it created hits like the series Normal People, which was the BBC’s most streamed programme on iPlayer last year, racking up an impressive 63million views. 

Seeking to replicate this success as a proper channel, funds are being diverted from BBC Four, which will just air repeats. 

The shake-up is part of a drive to claw back younger viewers, who are increasingly turning to streaming services such as Netflix for their TV. 

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘Older people are extraordinarily well served by a BBC that offers something for everyone across TV, radio and online – our aim is to reach and reflect all audiences, and more than 90 per cent of UK adults use the BBC each week.’ 

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