Entertainment & Arts

John Sessions blasts BBC 'management culture'

John Sessions Image copyright Getty Images

Actor and comedian John Sessions has criticised BBC "management culture" as "completely out of hand".

Sessions, who found fame on Whose Line Is It Anyway, said the BBC would have a better chance of survival if it was not "run like a private company".

He launched his criticism while promoting one-off BBC Two drama, We're Doomed! The Dad's Army Story.

Sessions stars as actor Arthur Lowe, who played pompous Captain Mainwaring in the classic sitcom.

Speaking after a press screening of the drama in London, Sessions said it had been shot on a "tight schedule" of two weeks instead of four. He blamed the lack of money on management decisions such as the relocation of parts of the BBC to Salford.

"I wish the executives would stop building buildings," he said. "It makes me very cross because we have to try to do our job under much more pressure than we should have to deal with.

"I don't want to sound like some whinging old luvvie, but the management culture at the BBC has become so pervasive and so money-monopolising that we are all doing these things on ridiculous schedules."

He said he hoped the current BBC director general Tony Hall would manage to "cut this management tumour down" because "it's got completely out of hand".

He went on: "This is a public broadcasting corporation - not a PLC - and the more it is treated like a corporation the better it will be and more chance it will have of surviving."

A BBC spokesman said: "We have cut senior manager numbers and costs by a third as part of our work to save £150m from the total paybill."

"BBC North has allowed us to get closer to our audiences and has had a huge impact both economically and culturally. The relocation was done on time and under budget and BBC North is one of the BBC's most efficient centres delivering around £168m cumulative savings to date."

Sessions - who also starred in BBC comedy series Stella Street and Outnumbered - considered the licence fee good value for money: "It's the price of a very serious Christmas shop. And for that you get the most wonderful stuff throughout the year.

"Of course great things still are made. The technical quality of things is beyond belief."

Starting in 1967, We're Doomed! tells the story of how writers Jimmy Perry (Paul Ritter) and David Croft (Richard Dormer) overcame BBC management scepticism to brings Dad's Army to the screen.

Alongside Sessions, the cast includes Julian Sands as John Le Mesurier, Mark Heap as Clive Dunn, Shane Richie as Bill Pertwee, Kevin Bishop as James Beck and Keith Allen as BBC One controller Paul Fox.

The drama will screen on BBC Two before Christmas.

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