'Another nail in the coffin!' BBC warned Christmas schedule could spell end of licence fee

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The BBC has heralded its own success for its offering over the festive period, saying it has “pulled out all the stops” to offer “a range of unmissable programmes”. But with rehashed shows and re-cut repeats filling prime time slots, campaigners have warned viewers will be left unimpressed by the schedule.

Rebecca Ryan, Campaigns Director for Defund the BBC said: “I think people are going to be extremely disappointed by what the BBC is offering.

“It’s a huge number of repeats over the Christmas period.

“The BBC will be hiding behind the excuse that we’ve had a pandemic this year and therefore they’ve been limited in what they can produce, they’re still being fully funded by taxpayers and they could have used that time to come up with some innovative solutions to the problems they’ve face.”

The schedule this year includes a Strictly Come Dancing special that recaps dances from previous series of the show, and a recap of moments from the past 30 years of Have I Got News for You.

READ MORE: BBC licence fee U-TURN as Boris Johnson scraps plans to decriminalise

The £157.50 a year licence fee must currently be paid by anyone who watches TV or a streaming service such as iPlayer.

Failure to pay can result in a hefty fine or even a prison sentence.

Announcing the line up at the end of last month, BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore said: “It’s never felt more important to help bring the country together to share, to laugh and to celebrate the festive season on the BBC.

“Let’s face it, it’s been a difficult year, unlike any other, so we’ve pulled out all the stops this Christmas to keep people entertained and bring comfort and joy when we need it most, with a range of unmissable programmes across our channels and BBC iPlayer.

“We’ll provide laugher with new comedy and entertainment shows, escapism with riveting new drama and natural history, heart and warmth with special episodes of your favourite shows, and companionship from many of the nation’s biggest stars.

“There’s something for everyone and as always it promises to be a very special time of the year on the BBC.

“There’s really no need to go anywhere else this Christmas!”

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