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Sky's Sophie Turner-Laing; live debates on TV; licence fee evasion

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 12 March 2014

Channel 5 has announced it has commissioned a series of new one hour live debates to tackle a range of issues including obesity, crime and debt. It follows the The Big Benefits Row: Live and The Big British Immigration Row: Live, the former brought the channel 2.6m viewers with an 8.9% share. Steve Hewlett talks to 5's Commissioning Editor for Factual Guy Davies about the planned programmes, and discusses the live debate format with former Question Time executive producer Steve Anderson and TV critic Kevin O'Sullivan.

As the head of all of BskyB's content outside of sport, Sophie Turner-Laing has spent the last few years trying to boost the broadcaster's entertainment offerings. She's been the driving force behind deals with HBO, launched Sky Atlantic, and is a firm advocate of developing home grown content. But in a climate where BskyB is now having to spend more on sports programming, will this lead to more pressure on entertainment spend? Sophie Turner-Laing joins Steve Hewlett in the studio.

The BBC's director of strategy and digital James Purnell has warned that plans by MPs to abolish criminal penalties for evading payment of the licence fee present a 'huge risk' that could lead to the closure of some the corporation's channels. He joins Steve Hewlett to discuss his fears about how the move would result in many more people refusing to pay, and looks at the potential loss to the organisation. And he responds to recent ideas about the the licence fee becoming a subscription model.

Producer: Katy Takatsuki.


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