Why is everyone talking about the BBC?

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Once upon a time the BBC was affectionately referred to as "Auntie".

For some though it's become more like a mischievous uncle, with lots of people having their say on the broadcaster.

A government document has been released looking at issues like the corporation's size and its activities, while a report into the licence fee is also due on Thursday.

But why now? What is this "document"? And why has Grimmy signed a letter to the prime minister?

First up... The Royal Charter

It's essentially a contract between the British public and the BBC.

The Royal Charter sets out the public purposes of the corporation and guarantees its independence.

The current contract runs out at the end of 2016 and it's up to the government to ensure any new deal is in the public's best interest. That's because the BBC is funded by the public through the licence fee.

So is this the government v the BBC then?

Not in the Pacquiao/Mayweather sense.

This man, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, has appointed eight people to work on the renewal of the Royal Charter.

Image source, Getty Images

The group includes a former Channel 5 boss, a former ITN editor and even someone who used to work at the BBC.

The issues they want to explore have been set out in a document, looking at whether the way the BBC works now fits with the changing digital media.

John Whittingdale also said it will look at whether the BBC should do away with "highly commercial" entertainment shows. Some people think he's talking about programmes such as The Voice.

The review will also look at ways of funding the BBC other than through the existing licence fee.

Good time to bring those up...

Image source, PA

Everyone in the UK who watches or records TV programmes at the same time as they are broadcast needs to be covered by a TV licence.

The annual cost of a colour TV licence is £145.50. Fail to pay and you could end up in prison.

The Government has also said that it will think about whether that law should change but another report out today suggests there's no need.

Image source, Getty Images

Over 75s don't have to pay as their licence is funded by the Government but last week the BBC agreed that it would take on those costs.

It could end up costing the corporation £650m and that could mean more cutbacks.

Something the BBC knows all about...

The corporation's boss recently revealed 1,000 jobs are going because it's not getting enough money in through licences. People who only watch on catch-up don't have to pay.

Director General Tony Hall confirmed plans to close BBC Three and move its content online in an effort to save money.

Image source, FOX/GETTY IMAGES

Hundreds of celebrities including Daniel Radcliffe and Jack Whitehall signed a letter calling for those plans to be shelved.

It's not the only letter stars have been signing...

Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw and Clara Amfo joined the likes of Gary Lineker and Daniel Craig who put their names to a letter calling on the prime minister to protect the BBC from cuts.

Image source, Getty Images

"A diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain," the letter read.

It came as several media reports claimed the government believes the BBC should not be making TV shows that rivals in the commercial world could make instead.

In other words "chasing ratings".

A consultation will now help sculpt the future of the BBC and that could effect the future of shows such as The Voice and Strictly.

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