Daily Express

BBC facing cash crisis as 82,000 scrap TV licences

- By By Chief Reporter

Stephn Spyro

THIS pier being buffeted by waves powered by high winds is proof that the hot spell is over – as chilly conditions are forecast.

Morning frost and snow will be seen in the extreme north as the mercury plummets.

The cooler temperatur­es were expected to accompany wind and extremely high tides.

The Environmen­t Agency warned: “Please be careful along beaches, promenades, coastal footpaths and roads as large waves and sea spray could be extremely dangerous.”

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said an Arctic system would bring colder temperatur­es to the start of the week.

The mercury on Saturday peaked at 76.8F (24.9C) in London, which would be replaced by a peak of 55F today.

The rest of the week should be slightly warmer, with 59F highs on Thursday and Friday, before a peak of 62F on Saturday.

The return to cooler weather follows the sunniest April in Britain since records began in 1929, with an average of 212 hours of sunshine, provisiona­l Met Office figures showed.

A spokesman for the national weather service said: “May can be quite a topsy-turvy month, as we get closer to the start of summer.

“It’s not unusual for spring to have a hot part and a colder part.”

Giles Sheldrick

TENS of thousands of households have cancelled their TV licences this year, it was revealed yesterday.

The move comes as more Britons instead sign up to online streaming networks, such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney+.

The number of licences across the UK fell by 82,000 in the five months to March.

It means there are now about 25,525,000 homes with TV licences, down from 25,607,000 last November and the lowest figure since 2014-’15.

The figures suggest viewers are ditching the BBC in favour of services where no licence is required.

Research shows fewer than half of 16- to 24-year-olds watch the BBC during an average week.

The fall in licences is threatenin­g to push the corporatio­n into financial meltdown, it was said.

Revenue is estimated to be down £125million this year. The news will likely intensify debate about future of the £157.50 licence fee.

The Daily Express crusade to keep free TV licences for over-75s has already seen the broadcaste­r take action.

A rule change meaning free TV licences would be restricted to those receiving Pension Credit benefits was set to come into effect on June 1, but the


has now been delayed until August 1. Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “We know TV is central to many older people’s lives as a trusted companion and a window to the world, and now more than ever for the latest news and entertainm­ent.

“The BBC board’s decision to delay roll-out of their planned scheme was very welcome but it is becoming more obvious that the initial two-month delay will not be nearly long enough. Age UK is calling for the pause to last until at least the end of 2020.

“Older people have more than enough to worry about at the moment without fretting about getting to grips with a new approach to TV licences and, for considerab­le numbers, the need to find the cash to pay another big annual bill they can ill afford.”

A BBC spokesman said: “While the number of licences has been around 25 million for the past 10 years, it has risen in recent years. But there will always be fluctuatio­n and March’s figures will include the fact some people have found it more difficult to pay during lockdown.” alongside his son Ben, 54, in 2001 action comedy Zoolander.

He also had roles in both the original 1988 film of Hairspray and the musical adaptation that followed in 2007 where he played the part of Mr Pinky.

Away from comedy, he appeared in the Seventies thriller The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three, as well as Murder She Wrote, alongside Angela Lansbury, and crime drama Law And Order.

For many, though, he will be best remembered as Jason Alexander’s irritable on-screen dad in Seinfeld, a role he played for six years.

Mock The Week panellist Chris Addison said Jerry was “a legend” in the role which inspired his comedy writing.

Novelist Linda Grant tweeted: “My favourite character on Seinfeld. Just seeing his face made me laugh. Serenity now.”

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Huge waves at Seaham, in County Durham, yesterday and, inset, rain at sunrise in Garforth, Leeds Pictures: OWEN HUMPHRIES/PA, LNP
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