The BBC was "absolutely right" by standing up to 'GBBO' producers, says David Attenborough

The 90-year-old broadcaster also said the BBC made the wrong call on sacking Jeremy Clarkson

The BBC was "absolutely right" by standing up to 'GBBO' producers, says David Attenborough

[David Parry PA Wire/PA Images]

British natural filmmaker Sir David Attenborough has said that the BBC was “absolutely right” when it refused to match Channel 4’s £75m (€83m) bid to take over the rights to the Great British Bake Off in September. But the veteran broadcaster also criticised the British national broadcaster for its decision to fire Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson after he assaulted a producer of that show.

Speaking to the Radio Times ahead of the launch of the second series of Planet Earth later this month, Attenborough said he backed the Beeb on its Bake Off stance, which saw last week’s Season Seven finale be the final episode of the popular baking competition to air on the BBC. In September, the BBC revealed it had “made a very strong offer to keep the show,” but Love Productions moved the show to Channel 4 after it offered a higher bid.

Asked if the BBC had made the right decision, Attenborough said: “Oh, absolutely right! To say to them: ‘If you want another million, go ahead, we’ve got plenty more ideas where that came from.’”

But the 90-year-old documentarian said the BBC had made a mistake in letting Clarkson go, claiming that the organisation was in need of the motoring presenter’s “profoundly anti-establishment” voice.

Attenborough also revealed himself to have been steadfastly pro-Remain in the UK’s recent Brexit referendum, expressing concerns over the current political climate and uncertainty surrounding it. He criticised the choice of former Prime Minister David Cameron to have made the decision to put the UK’s place in the European community on the line.

“There’s confusion, isn’t there, between populism and parliamentary democracy,” Attenborough said. “I mean, that’s why we’re in the mess we are with Brexit, is it not? Do we really want to live by this kind of referendum?

“What we mean by parliamentary democracy is surely that we find someone we respect who we think is probably wiser than we are, who is prepares to take the responsibility of pondering difficult things and then trust him – or her – to vote on our behalf.”

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