Graham Norton says people would ‘sh*t themselves’ if BBC was axed
The popular BBC presenter has spoken out in defence of the broadcasting corporation, saying viewers would “shit themselves” if the BBC was axed for even two months.
Graham Norton – one of the BBC’s flagship presenters – has voiced his support for the BBC, praising the corporation’s varied programming and predicting panic from viewers if it is ever axed.
Speaking of the Conservative party’s recent attack on the licence fee, the Eurovision presenter said: ““I think they should switch off the BBC for two months,”
“Just put £24 into everyone’s bank account, and switch the BBC off for two months, and people would s*** themselves,” he told The Telegraph.
When asked if he had made this suggestion to the company’s chief, Director General Lord Tony Hall, Norton said: ““Of course I have!
“I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but the BBC did do a thing… they wanted to know what the public appetite was for the licence fee, so they did a deprivations test.
“They got a mixture of people – those who were happy paying the licence fee, those who didn’t want to pay it, those who thought it was too high,” he revealed.
“And they took their services away for two weeks. Just two weeks. No internet, no radio, no TV. And at the end of it, everyone was happy to pay for the licence fee.”
Norton – who is one of the broadcaster’s highest paid stars – also said he was aware that his suggestions would likely be met with accusations of bias, but warned of the dangers of attacking the institution.
“[The BBC] is one of those things people will not understand until it’s gone.
“And then they’ll be going ‘oh, telly’s a bit s***. This is a weird period drama – there’s only two people in it and no cars’,” he quipped.
“Right now is… it’s a really perilous time for the BBC.
“The trouble is that every every government hates the BBC. The BBC will criticise the government, and so there is that slight ‘well, if you’re not with us, you must be against it.’”
However, the presenter does not plan to work for the media giant forever – last month, he pledged to quit his chat show before he is 60, to leave on a high and avoid having to interview cast members of The Only Way Is Essex.
Earlier this week, former BBC newsreader and Scottish National Party MP John Nicolson revealed that the BBC was “aghast” when he came out as gay – claiming the corporation used to insist that gay stars were just “waiting for the right woman”.