BBC to slash 100 hours of TV this year – but licence fee rises to highest ever | UK | News

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The has announced plans to make swathing cuts to its programming, with hundreds of hours worth of content to be ditched as part of its Annual Plan.

The 2024/2025 Annual Plan will dispense with 100 hours of content, primarily drama and entertainment, over the next 12 months as the corporation creates fewer new shows.

Hours dedicated to “first-run original drama” will plummet by 13 percent to 350 hours, with Doctors, BBC1’s flagship medical drama, among the first casualties.

The plan, which was released yesterday, cites ongoing pressures on the BBC‘s finances and the “increasing cost” incurred by its programming.

But the reduction in hours won’t transfer to the , which is due to increase by more than £10 next month.

The Annual Plan also reveals cuts to entertainment and factual entertainment programming, which faces an even bigger drop than BBC dramas.

Time dedicated to this type of programming will drop by 15 percent, down to 850 hours.

Children’s channels CBBC and CBeebies will also be hit by the new commitments but to a lesser extent.

The channels will only see an overall cut of 10 hours to their programming, but, at the same time, people will have to pay more to watch.

The new financial year will bring fewer programmes and higher costs for BBC viewers, with the Government having greenlit an inflation-based increase.

While Britons anticipate roughly 105 fewer hours worth of TV, the licence feel will rise to £169.50.

The increase from the current rate of £159 for a colour licence will rise by roughly 88p per month, or £10.50 a year.

But the Government has said the fee is cheaper than it could have been, as the freeze introduced in 2022 has made it “more than £20 cheaper”.

Announcing the increase in December 2023, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that, by the end of 2024, “licence fee payers will have saved £37 since 2022 due to the measures”.

The increased fee also won’t significantly benefit the BBC, which is anticipating a massive deficit increase to £492 million in the 2024/25 financial year.

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