Andrew Marr: BBC should ditch ludicrous idea that everyone who appears on the corporation is the face of it

13 March 2023, 18:26 | Updated: 13 March 2023, 19:00

Andrew Marr on how the BBC treats centre-left and right-wing views

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The BBC should ditch the "ludicrous pretence" that everyone who appears on one of its channels to present a show automatically becomes the face of the corporation, Andrew Marr has said.

Speaking after the BBC was forced to issue a grovelling apology following the removal of Gary Lineker from Match of the Day for his tweets on the government's immigration bill, Andrew said the corporation needs to make a couple of changes.

The veteran football presenter sparked a storm by comparing the government’s new policy on migrants to language used in 1930s Germany.

Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr on Monday, the presenter said the "implosion of BBC sports", which saw sports programmes were pulled from air due to a lack of presenters, took things to "a whole new level".

Andrew said: "Where does it all leave the BBC this evening?

"I think the biggest unresolved problem is the obvious discrepancy between the way it treats people of centre-left opinions such as Mr Lineker and the leeway given to people of a more conservative bent such as Lord Sugar, Michael Portillo and, in the old days, Andrew Neil.

"In short, as the rules are reviewed, going forward, everybody must be treated just the same."

Twitter Row Between Gary Lineker And The BBC Resolved
Twitter Row Between Gary Lineker And The BBC Resolved. Picture: Getty

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He continued: "Surely the BBC should now ditch the ludicrous pretence that everybody who appears on the BBC and is quite well known is therefore the face, or voice, of the BBC. Newsreaders and people presenting politics might be.

"But Gary Lineker isn't The face of the BBC. He's the presenter on Match of the Day. Otherwise, where does this lead? Are we going to censor the views of Mary Berry, Claudia Winkleman, Nigella Lawson and David Tennant?

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"Is there a danger the Hairy Bikers have dissident views on corporation tax? Or that Sarah Lancashire might start tweeting about levelling up? It's all crackers, obviously. Next obvious move?

"W1A Should be moved into the documentary library on iPlayer. And finally as I have said rather a lot of times already, Richard Sharp should now step aside as chair of the governors. He's just too close to the government. Nothing personal."