The government vs the BBC: A Hundred Year War

This week Jack picks through the long and turbulent relationship between the government and the BBC, and asks why these two great pillars of British public life can’t seem to get along.

Veteran BBC Radio 4 presenter and author Edward Stourton and BBC historian Professor Jean Seaton discuss the checkered history of government/BBC relations, from the 1926 General Strike right through to the modern day — via World War II, the Falklands and Iraq. Former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale and Jeremy Corbyn’s former aide James Schneider offer critiques from the Right and the Left, each suggesting the Beeb struggles with ideas it sees as outside the mainstream.

And the BBC’s current Executive Editor for Politics, Katy Searle, offers a firm defense of the corporation’s approach — and reveals the angry 6 a.m. phone calls she frequently receives from Downing Street.

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