BBC boycott starts TOMORROW: Viewers urged to switch off this Christmas in protest

BBC licence fee 'no longer fit for purpose' says expert

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Households across the nation are being urged to avoid using the services of the corporation between Christmas and New Year in protest at the quality of content on offer. Campaigners say the licence fee model means for too long the broadcaster has been allowed to rely on getting funding regardless of what it puts on air.

They believe a plunge in viewing figures over the festive period would send a message to corporation bosses that Britons will not be taken for granted.

Rebecca Ryan, campaign director, at the pressure group Defund the BBC told “It would be really, really disruptive to the BBC if there was a short sort of ‘circuit break’ of the BBC over the Christmas period.

“Given they don’t even have enough respect for the people that fund them to provide original content at this time, it would be very effective.”

The BBC received an onslaught of criticism earlier this month when it was revealed its lineup for Christmas Day was identical to 2020.

Shows including Strictly Come Dancing, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Call the Midwife will all air tomorrow even – and will even be on in the same order as last year.

While the content will all be new, over the rest of the festive period the BBC is showing a large number of repeats.

Between December 18 and December 31, nearly a third of all programmes on BBC One are repeats.

Three-quarters of BBC Two’s lineup are shows which have been aired before.

Ms Ryan added: “People should switch to on-demand for Christmas.

“They will do the job of causing some major disruption.

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“We’re also confident a large percentage of those who do it will realise they don’t need live TV at all.”

Britons using the BBC must pay £160 a year for its services.

The licence fee must be paid by all those accessing linear TVs.

Campaigners such as Defund the BBC are calling for a change to force the broadcaster to compete in the free market alongside providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

They say the change would lead to a better quality of programming on the broadcaster.

It would also mean no one is forced to pay for a service they do not use.

Defending the festive lineup, a BBC source said: “BBC One’s Christmas Day lineup proved a winning formula last year with Call the Midwife, Blankety Blank, Strictly and The Wheel taking the top four spots.

“We know viewers look forward to brand new specials of their favourite shows, and then spending Boxing Day onwards indulging in new dramas or streaming boxsets on iPlayer.”

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