BBC chiefs are stuck in a rut, says Wogan

Key points

• Wogan hits out at BBC programming policy of 'beating an idea to death'

• Wogan condemns BBC for relentless diet of makeover and reality shows

• BBC criticised for paying millions for Graham Norton and not using him

Key quote

"I just think that BBC TV gets hold of an idea and beats it to death until we’re all heartily sick of it" - Terry Wogan

Story in full THE BBC stalwart Terry Wogan has launched a withering attack on the corporation’s senior executives and accused them of being devoid of new ideas.

The TV and radio presenter, who joined the BBC more than 30 years ago, believes it now serves up a relentless diet of makeover and reality shows, adding that it "gets hold of an idea and beats it to death".

Wogan, who once hosted a show called Auntie’s Bloomers that highlighted BBC mistakes, also berated the corporation for paying millions of pounds to sign up Graham Norton, without any idea of what to do with him.

Norton was poached from Channel 4 last year for a reported 3.5 million, but he has seldom been seen on the BBC. Later this year, he will host BBC1’s Strictly Dance Fever, a spin-off from Strictly Come Dancing.

In an interview with Heat magazine, Wogan said: "I just think that BBC TV gets hold of an idea and beats it to death until we’re all heartily sick of it. I mean, take makeover shows for example - one of them is successful and then we get wall to wall on the BBC. It’s ridiculous.

"And look what they’ve done with Strictly Come Dancing. It’s a big hit, great. So then we have Strictly Come Dancing the ice-skating version ... then you have Graham Norton coming in and doing one of them because they don’t know what else to do with him.

"It’s like someone said, ‘What can we do with Graham Norton and ballroom dancing? Who can he offend with ballroom dancing?’"

Wogan, 66, said Norton would have to tone down his risqu act for a Saturday night family audience.

On his Channel 4 show, So Graham Norton, he specialised in telephoning outrageous people he had found on the internet. But Wogan warned: "He won’t be able to call someone in a house of ill-repute in New York on his computer any more."

The veteran presenter, whose Radio 2 breakfast show pulls in eight million listeners, said that Norton was one of many big names the BBC had signed up without sufficient planning. "They buy people without thinking what they’re going to do with them. It’s the wrong way round. What they should be doing is employing really good ideas people to come up with good ideas," he said.

"That’s what they used to do at the BBC ... now it’s, ‘I’m going to buy this character. Oh, and I haven’t got anything for them to do’. I think that’s a mistake."

He said one of the few signings the BBC had got right in the past ten years was Jonathan Ross. He has been tipped to take over Wogan’s breakfast show when he retires and the Irishman said he would make a good job of it.

Wogan, who had his own live TV chat show for ten years until 1992, was less complimentary about another TV veteran, Michael Parkinson. "I’d like to see Parky do it live," he said. "It would be a completely different show. It’s amazing how scared people are of doing live TV these days.

"Having said that, I wouldn’t like to do a show again. I watched an episode of Parkinson and there were three fairly miserable people sitting there, and I just don’t need that kind of bother. I used to sit there looking at my terrible guests and think, ‘What the hell are you doing on this show if you don’t want to talk? Why do you come on stoned? Why do you come on drunk?’ I just couldn’t bear it any more."

It was not only the BBC that Wogan had a pop at. He said his axed daytime programme, the Terry and Gaby Show, flopped "because no-one watches Five".

Last summer, Wogan condemned the BBC for wasting money by putting on shows for young people at weekends, saying that was when they were out on the town, not watching TV.

A BBC spokesman said last night: "Terry is entitled to his opinion, but that’s all it is."

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