Tim Davie admits regret over Gary Lineker affair
BBC boss Tim Davie admitted to MPs he has regrets about the Gary Lineker saga.
The Match of the Day host was briefly suspended earlier this year after sparking uproar over tweets criticising the Government’s illegal immigration crackdown and comparing language used to that of 1930s Germany.
Appearing before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee today, the director-general said there are things he would have done differently in hindsight.
Asked if he regrets how he handled the situation, Mr Davie told MPs: “It was certainly a busy weekend.
“I regret audiences were impacted at the end of the day. The idea that we didn’t put out a full programme I’ll always regret. Do you look back and say could you have done things slightly differently at different points? You always do in these affairs, of course you do.”
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The corporation is conducting a review of its social media guidelines in the wake of the row.
Mr Davie insisted he has not had any concerns about Lineker’s tweets since then despite the football pundit sparking criticism in April after weighing in on the resignation of BBC chairman Richard Sharp.
He said: “What’s been a concern is getting the social media review to a point where it can be delivered flawlessly, and that is not easy.”
He added that he is expecting that report back to them “pretty soon”.
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Mr Davie also addressed the licence fee during his appearance before the committee.
He said he is “without doubt” concerned about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis for payers of the controversial £159-a-year levy.
He said: “My strategy in the top team is very very clear, we want to offer outstanding value for £13 a month.
“We have inflating costs in terms of drama and delivering that, so there is a real tension because at the end of the day you have to offer that value… that value is critical.”
Mr Davie added: “There is no doubt we are conscious it’s a tough environment for families out there and households.”
Lineker, who is the BBC’s highest-paid star, was pulled off air in March when the row erupted over his tweets.
But the move sparked a boycott by fellow presenters and the broadcaster was forced to air a 20-minute Match of the Day with no commentary.
The former England footballer was subsequently reinstated, with the BBC apologising and announcing a review of its social media guidelines.
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