David Dimbleby says there are ‘major problems’ with BBC but that public trust it more than politicians

David Dimbleby says the BBC faces challenges ahead (BBC)

David Dimbleby has said there are “major problems” with the BBC and that the corporation faces many “challenges”.

The journalist was speaking after BBC director general Tony Hall announced on Monday that he will step down in the summer.

The BBC has been in the firing line in the past year over equal pay and the decision to scrap free TV licences for over-75s.

Mr Dimbleby, who stood down as presenter of Question Time at the end of 2018, praised Lord Hall for his seven-year tenure but said challenges remained.

But he insisted the public trust the BBC more than they trust politicians.

Speaking to Newsnight on Monday, Mr Dimbleby said: “It’s always worth remembering that I think, in the end, people trust the BBC more than they trust politicians who try to diminish it.

“I’m not saying there aren’t major problems with the BBC at the moment.

“I think there are, on the licence fee, on all the challenges the BBC faces, and I don’t think we’re necessarily yet in a position to answer those challenges. So I think there are problems ahead.

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“But Tony revived the place, he took over in the most appalling of circumstances, with a director general who lasted only a matter of days.

“His successor will face major challenges that are still to be answered. There always will be challenges.”

In December, in the wake of the general election, a poll by YouGov found that just 44% of Britons said they trusted the BBC to tell the truth, a drop of 7% from October.

One in five (20%) of those polled said they didn’t trust the BBC to tell the truth at all.

The BBC was criticised for a perceived lack of impartiality on a number of occasions for its election coverage.

In November, the corporation was forced to apologise after it edited out mocking audience laughter at Boris Johnson during a Question Time debate.

Just days before the election, BBC News political editor Laura Kuenssberg apologised for wrongly tweeting that a Labour activist punched a Tory advisor outside a hospital in Leeds.

And the day before the poll, the BBC was again under fire after political correspondent Alex Forsyth referred to Mr Johnson as winning the majority “he so deserves” in a live link.

Mr Dimbleby also said that he had arguments with members of the public who were angry about the BBC’s coverage of Brexit.

He said: “I was filming during Brexit and I had people shouting ‘W*****s! Bloody BBC!’

“And I’d say to them, ‘What is it?’ and they had, genuinely, ferocious arguments about the way the BBC was handling Brexit.”

He added: “Something isn’t right and I think part of it is because of the massive expansion of social media.”

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