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Suzannah Lipscomb hits out at "self-harm" of BBC Four changes

Suzannah Lipscomb hits out at
© BBC
Suzannah Lipscomb hits out at the decision to turn BBC Four into an archive channel, describing it as an act of "shooting oneself in the foot".

TV historian Suzannah Lipscomb has criticised the BBC's decision to morph BBC Four into an archive channel as part of new cost-cutting measures.

Last month the corporation confirmed that it will no longer commission original programming for the channel, instead scheduling repeats from the extensive BBC archive.

At the same time the BBC is boosting the budget of youth-skewing service BBC Three and is preparing to relaunch it as a linear station by January 2022.

Lamenting the move, Lipscomb - host of shows such as Hidden Killers for the channel - wrote in an op-ed for the Radio Times: "BBC4 has been a home to the quirky, the original, the inspiring and educational, the occasionally niche, sometimes highbrow, cosmopolitan and thoughtful.

"Maybe the powers that be have had enough of experts - or perhaps they only want those they've already got. Where will new voices be heard now?"

She added: "One version of the etymology of shooting oneself in the foot is that in the First World War soldiers shot themselves in the foot to avoid going 'over the top'. It was a cowardly act of self-sabotage in the hope that the injury would prevent death.

"It would be the perfect analogy, but with one caveat: this self-harm may well hasten our beloved BBC's demise."

BBC Four currently has an annual budget of around £44m a year, while BBC Three's budget is being increased from £30m to around £60m.

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