Victoria Derbyshire viewers call for BBC to axe Question Time instead

Presenter Victoria Derbyshire leaves BBC Broadcasting House in London. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Presenter Victoria Derbyshire leaves BBC Broadcasting House in London. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Fans of Victoria Derbyshire's current affairs television programme have called for Question Time to be axed by the BBC instead.

Following news that Derbyshire's TV show is to be axed, there has been an outpouring of support for the award-winning BBC Two show.

One viewer said it was a "life-saving programme" that had helped her when she was "so alone".

Shadow culture secretary Tracy Brabin has written a letter to BBC director general Lord Tony Hall, asking him to reconsider the decision.

In a letter shared by Brabin on Twitter, she said that Derbyshire "is an incredible journalist and I am certain that she has a very bright broadcasting future in front of her regardless of what happens with the show in the coming months."

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"I know that a show like this will have a dedicated and talented team working behind the scenes, who are probably predominately freelancers.

"It's of the upmost (sic) importance that these workers are treated with dignity in this process - and that they did not find out that their role may be in jeopardy via social media.

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"However, The Victoria Derbyshire Show itself is brave and courageous journalism at its very best. It seeks out the stories that are so rarely covered elsewhere and broadcasts them in a format that is popular with and accessible to millions."

Some viewers responded to Derbyshire's tweet confirming the news with other suggestions for where the axe should fall.

Many called for Question Time to go instead - especially after actor Laurence Fox's appearance last week attracted more than 250 official complaints.

The main issues cited in the complaints were that the "audience [was] not representative of the local area, leading to a pro-Conservative bias" and that the "discussion on racism [was] felt to be offensive".

"Why cut this and not something useless and harmful to public discourse like Question Time?" asked Harry Samuels.

"All part of dumbing down the BBC to become the UK version of Fox News. A real shame. If they need to cut costs they should just get rid of Question Time," wrote Helen Gilbert.

"BBC has lost its mind: excellent Victoria Derbyshire Show to come off air as part of BBC cuts. Meanwhile the dreadful Question Time continues..." tweeted Baroness Hussein-Ece.

BBC director of news and current affairs Fran Unsworth told staff it had "not been an easy decision".

She praised the programme, which was hailed in the BBC's annual report, as "exactly the type of journalism we need to continue" and described Derbyshire as "a hugely talented and engaging presenter".

But, she said, "audience behaviours are changing. Linear television viewing is declining, and as we progress with our £80 million savings target, it is no longer cost-effective to continue producing the programme on television".

The decision is part of a wider series of changes to be announced next week.

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