BBC “loses talent” as Phoebe Waller-Bridge in “hot” battle with rivals, top boss warns | Ents & Arts News
The BBC chief executive has warned that the broadcaster is “losing talent” such as “Phoebe Waller bridges” in a “burning” battle for stars and creators with rivals and streaming services.
Speaking at a session of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee, Tim Davie made the comments when asked about the departure of key talent, and said the company was facing competition from other networks potentially offering successful writers, actors and directors a “transformational wealth”.
Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA Waller-Pont created and performed in the hugely popular and critically acclaimed BBC comedy Chip bag, which aired in 2016 and 2019, and also served as the lead writer for the first series of the broadcaster’s equally acclaimed spy-thriller comedy Kill Eve, launched in 2018.
In 2019, the star signed an exclusive Â£ 50million deal with Amazon Studios create and produce new shows exclusively for Amazon Prime Video.
Ricky gervais is another comedy star who rose to prominence on the BBC, with The Office in 2001, but continued to work with other networks and in 2019 launched the black comedy After Life on Netflix – and has since signed a global agreement with the streaming platform.
In recent years, the broadcaster has also lost big-name radio stars, with Chris Evans moving from Radio 2 to Virgin Radio in 2019 and Graham Norton following suit earlier this year – though he still hosts his talk show on BBC One – so as a hit show The Great British Cake, which in 2017 switched to Channel 4 after seven series.
Asked about the loss of key BBC talent, Davie told MPs: ‘We are losing talent. It’s not just the people who go to Times Radio and all that stuff, it’s also big deals signed with the Phoebe Waller-Bridges.
âWe are facing a situation where we are now in a global game. If you are a successful writer, actor or director, the demands on you have never been greater and there are opportunities for transformational wealth.
âThe BBC needs to do things differently from other players – new talent and new writing.
“There is something wonderful about working in the UK, life isn’t just about the money, it’s about the creative experience you get, it’s about making people normal , wonderful dramas, the ability to actually be on BBC One and have a big following.
“These are things that make the BBC special, but over time we will come under increasing pressure.”
Mr Davie said it was “hot out there” as global players such as Disney + and HBO Max enter the market.
He added: âMaking stuff is one thing, but there is a strategic question for the BBC and the UK about how much IP (intellectual property) we own and create, not just as a workshop. manufacture, but as a workshop of invention and possession.
“It’s a real worry for us, and we are fighting.”
On talent pay, Davie said, âThe long-term position is retention and value, that doesn’t mean you’re going to have massive cutbacks year after year.
âWe have 22,802 backers, the 72 out of 150 winners is 0.3% of the content budget and I know that can be tricky territory, but it’s a very small amount, and we’re in an incredibly inflationary market.
âWe’ve lost people, Graham Norton went to Virgin Radio, we’ve lost people to GB News, LBC, they’re poached.
“I want to see continued restraint in delivering exceptional value, we don’t see a drastic increase in those numbers, but we unabashedly want these top talent.”
During the session, BBC Chairman Richard Sharp also defended the hiring of Jess Brammar as head of the news channels, denying that the controversy surrounding his appointment had “tainted” her.
Ms Brammar, former editor-in-chief of HuffPost UK and acting editor of Newsnight, will oversee the BBC’s two 24-hour news channels – BBC World News and BBC News Channel.
It comes after her impartiality was called into question when old tweets emerged in which she criticized Brexit and the Prime Minister.
Mr Davie added: “We have to hire the best at the BBC, and we have to hire across the political spectrum. This is an incredibly important precedent, and this business is dangerous territory for us.”
It is not “because of the process,” he added, but because of people “who doubt our ability to hire people with opinions in the BBC” and that “when they get here, they leave them at the door – political opinions â.