Esther Rantzen congratulates BBC, says ‘We never needed you more’

Dame Esther Rantzen congratulated the BBC on its 100th year of broadcasting, adding: “You are of immense value not only to Britain but to journalism around the world.”

His corporation is marking a century since it was founded on 18 October 1922, with the original name British Broadcasting Company.

Dame Esther, 82, presents BBC One’s That’s Life! for 21 years, creating and hosting Hearts Of Gold in the late 1980s on the same channel, and later presenting her own talk show, Esther, on BBC Two.


Esther Rantzen with Angela Rippon (PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency, the journalist, broadcaster and charity campaigner told the BBC, saying: “On your 100th birthday, you once received congratulations from the Queen.

“Well, sadly that can’t happen anymore, but at least I have the same initials.

“So allow me to congratulate you, Aunt BBC. Like all aunts, you can be a little annoying. You have memory impairment, sometimes you say quite unpleasant things.

“But overall, you are of immense value not only to the UK, but to the press around the world.

“So stay strong. Don’t be scared off by those who attack you for their own reasons, and we’ve never needed you more than that. “

The comments come a month after the company announced 382 jobs at BBC World Service would be cut as part of a plan to move to a digital-led service.

Dame Esther continued: “The demolition was easy. You can shoot a Buddha statue, you can destroy a monastery, and it’s gone. You can destroy the BBC and it will disappear.

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“But it takes years, generations, skill, luck, opportunity, the right circumstances, to create a great institution.

“Of course it can be frustrating and of course it can make mistakes. I started getting acquainted with the BBC at this point because I think they underestimate older viewers as their most loyal customers.

“I think it’s not easy to please everyone.”


Esther Rantzen with the award for Female Character of the Year by the Royal Television Association (PA)

Dame Esther said her father worked for Lord Reith at the BBC as an electrical engineer when he started developing television.

She told PA: “My family had one of the televisions very soon after it started working again after the war in 1946. I can remember Muffin The Mule and Andy Pandy.

“I think very early on I wanted to work for the BBC. My father has the greatest respect for Lord Reith and I have always found that telling stories and giving people good information, television seemed to be the best way to do it, actually from a very young age. young. “

She became a trainee studio director at the BBC shortly after graduating from college, before resigning then returning to work as a secretary in another department, where she met broadcaster Ned Sherrin.


Ned Sherrin (Andy Butterton / PA)

She told PA: “It was a big break for me, there’s no question that I know it was a big break for me. I knew if he offered me a job, it would be the job that gave me my first chance.

“The BBC has given me unique opportunities, completely unique opportunities.”

Dame Esther said the BBC’s coverage of the Queen’s funeral last month was “the perfect example” of what the broadcaster was broadcasting “the best part of British life”.

Speaking of the corporation’s survival in the streaming age, she added: “The BBC needs to provide good information, good entertainment in a form that viewers and listeners really enjoy, and they have to stay in touch. with viewers and listeners of all ages, not just in this country, but around the world.

“The BBC also has a very important role to play in delivering news, as well as fighting fake news, to the people who are really vulnerable and need it.

“Why do we feel like we do about Ukraine? That’s because these incredibly brave reporters went out there and showed us exactly what was happening. We trust the BBC to tell us the truth.

“The fact that the BBC has this – I know because I was trained by them – is an absolute dedication to public service.” Esther Rantzen congratulates BBC, says ‘We never needed you more’

Fry Electronics Team

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