‘Right-on’ Radio 4 needs to ‘stop taking its core audience for granted’: Lord Blunkett says ‘miserable’ programmes making ‘constant reference to identity politics are NOT what people want’
- Labour Lord David Blunkett, 74, said BBC Radio 4 is forgetting its key audience
- The former home secretary claimed it focused too much on its own presenters
- He said BBC chief Tim Davie had not yet changed the organisation as promised
Labour Lord David Blunkett has claimed BBC Radio 4 is forgetting its key audience and spending too much time focusing on its own presenters.
The former home secretary, 74, said he remained a supporter of the BBC but said Radio 4 was shooting itself in the foot with ‘miserable’ programmes droning on about ‘identity politics’.
The average age of a Radio 4 listener is 56 and Blunkett’s criticism of came after claims it breached impartiality guidelines with veiled left-wing bias.
For Blunkett, radio dramas were most in the line of fire, with the Labour politician saying enjoyability fell by the wayside while moral messages were injected into what was meant to be easy listening.
Lord David Blunkett (pictured), 74, bashed BBC Radio 4, which he has listened to since it replaced the Home Service in 1967, for forgetting its key audience. He said the station broadcast ‘miserable’ programmes about ‘identity politics’
BBC Director-General Tim Davie (pictured), 54, claimed he would make sure the corporation represented people in all parts of the UK but Lord Blunkett criticised him and said he could not yet see a change
The station’s news programmes were also failing to cover a wide enough range of stories, Blunkett said.
He even took time to bash The Food Programme for making the show about the cooks presenting it rather than ordinary people listening at home.
‘I fear that good, easy-listening drama that doesn’t have to lecture us or ensure we are “right-on” has gone [from Radio 4] for some time,’ he told The Times.
‘Misery and a constant reference to identity politics are not what people want.’
He added: ‘They must stop taking [their] core audience for granted.’
‘Stop thinking of making programmes about yourselves and think about what matters in the wider sphere.’
Earlier this week he penned an open letter to The Telegraph that said ‘the drift to pretentious, metropolitan self-indulgence is moving apace’ at Radio 4.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie, 54, claimed he would ensure the organisation represented people from all parts of the UK when he took over in September but Blunkett said he couldn’t yet see a change.
Mr Davie has come under fire for a series of decisions that include hiring Remainer cheerleader and former Huffington Post editor Jess Brammar as head of news channels.
Radio 4 is the latest part of the BBC to face criticism after claims of bias in the corporation’s hierarchy
The corporation also came under fire for the actions of former reporter Martin Bashir’s seedy methods of securing an interview with Princess Diana. Pictured: Bashir interviews the Princess of Wales for the BBC’s Panorama in 1995
Mr Davie admitted he was unsure if the corporation had hired anyone to a senior position who had supported Brexit.
He said: ‘I have no idea. I don’t know where my top team is on Brexit. We don’t talk like that.’
In response to Lord Blunkett’s bashing of the corporation, the BBC said: ‘People who love Radio 4 will always have opinions about what we do and we are always happy to hear from them.’