BBC staff lash out at 'obscene' '£10m studio' amid fears of job cuts

BBC staff facing the axe lash out over ‘£10m curvy studio’ – after corporation announced news channels merger with fears of 100 job cuts

  • BBC insiders have lashed out at approximately £10million spent on ‘Studio B’ 
  • The new studio will house election coverage and Laura Kuenssberg’s new show
  • It features a curved catwalk and vertical screen to display social media images
  • The spend comes amid fears of 100 job cuts due to merger of its news channels

Insiders at the BBC have hit out at the corporation for spending up to £10million on a new ‘curvy’ studio amid fears that 100 staff members could lose their jobs in a merger of its news channels.

The newly refurbished studio – complete with a curved catwalk and large vertical screen to display social media posts – was a well kept secret for months until it was unveiled last week.

The BBC invested in the renovation before drawing up plans to combine its UK and world news channels, The Times reports.

The merger is expected to lead to redundancies and has left some insiders angry at the ‘obscene’ expenditure on the new studio.

A source said the backdrop ‘will be on air for three half-hour bulletins a day’ while harsh cuts are imposed on the rolling news channels.

Presenter Huw Edwards unveils BBC News’ new state-of-the-art studio last week. The newly refurbished studio will be home to BBC News at Six and Ten, as well as London bulletins

The newly refurbished studio – complete with a spiral staircase and large vertical screen – was a well kept secret for months until it was unveiled last week

Known as ‘Studio B’, the backdrop will be used for BBC News at 6 and 10 as well as London bulletins. It will host live election coverage and also Laura Kuenssberg’s new Sunday morning politics show later this year.

The precise amount spent on Studio B is unknown and has not been confirmed by the BBC.

Last week, it was reported at £5million but more recently The Times has been told the cost is £10million while Private Eye has it at £15million.

Presenter Huw Edwards stressed during a video tour that it will add impact to stories, while Jonathan Munro, interim head of news, said it was the ‘first major refurbishment’ in a decade.

Supporters of the scheme point out that London’s New Broadcasting House has not had an uplift in over a decade and argue the scheme represents value for money in the long-term.

BBC executives are reported to have been inspired by Swedish news channel Expressen TV. Set up by a newspaper, it has won awards for its video coverage and expects its presenters to be live on air within three minutes of a story breaking.

But reporters are still unaware how the combination of BBC News and BBC World News channels into a single 24-hour operation will affect them.

There are fears up to half of the channels’ 200 staff workers could be made redundant, including presenters.

The precise amount spent on Studio B is unknown and has not been confirmed by the BBC. Last week, it was reported at £5million but more recently The Times has been told the cost is £10million while Private Eye has it at £15million

BBC executives are reported to have been inspired by Swedish news channel Expressen TV. Set up by a newspaper, it has won awards for its video coverage and expects its presenters to be live on air within three minutes of a story breaking

The plans being proposed form changes to the BBC’s content and services which it says will save £500million in its first phase.

The corporation needs to save an additional £285million after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced the licence fee would be frozen for the next two years and scrapped by 2027.

As part of plans to become ‘digital first’ broadcaster, the BBC said it will cut up to 1,000 jobs from the public-funded part of the BBC over the next few years.

BBC Four and CBBC are expected to move online to the iPlayer, while Radio 4 Extra could become available on the BBC Sounds service only.

Regional TV news programmes South Today in Oxford and Look East in Cambridge are also among the services being scrapped as part of the ‘blueprint to build a digital-first public service media organisation’.

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