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Grade: BBC is almost unmanageable

The BBC is too big and "almost unmanageable", its former chairman, Michael Grade has said.

He told an audience at the Edinburgh International Television Festival the BBC should also share some of the licence fee with Channel 4.

Mr Grade said: "The real issue in the modern world is how big should the BBC be?

"Does it need all those digital channels, does it need all those radio stations, does it need to occupy all the territory that it does?".

He said it was up to licence fee payers, through the mechanism of the BBC Trust, to decide what services it stopped providing adding: "The BBC has to contract. It's just too big. It's almost unmanageable."

Mr Grade, who has served as BBC chairman, BBC1 controller and boss of Channel 4, said both channels should compete for a share of the licence fee.

He said: "That would sharpen up the BBC's value for money instincts and secure Channel 4 and would create a measure of competition in the public service broadcasting sector."

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned the BBC needed more "discipline" and its director-general has warned of massive job cuts to come.

Mr Hunt said he could not rule out a reduction in the licence fee and warned that the BBC has to "live on the same planet as everyone else".

The corporation has come under fire in recent years for the large sums of licence fee money paid to its stars and top managers.

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