BBC sharpens axe ahead of official announcement

An overhead shot of the BBC Newsroom, with Studio E on the left

Bespoke and specialist BBC News programmes to bear the brunt of cuts to be revealed this week.

The BBC needs to cut £80million from its news budget. It's already half way there, but more cuts are needed, as the BBC has to find the money to pay for TV licences for the over 75s on Pension Credit.

A number of television and radio programmes produce bespoke reports for their programmes. These are either being axed or cut back, with the expectation that any content created can be shared among BBC News outlets.

The Times first broke the news that the daily Victoria Derbyshire programme was in the firing line. It had a specialist line-up, commissioning reports and investigations about ethical and human interest stories.

Subsequent newspaper reports confirm that Newsnight will also face cuts, with BBC Two's nightly newscast to produce fewer bespoke reports.

On the radio, news programmes including Radio 4's World At One that have previously generated their own content will also be affected, so that material can be shared between different radio news programmes.

News presenters will also be asked to appear across BBC channels and programmes, according to The Guardian.

This is aimed at ending internal competition between different BBC News programmes and cutting back on different programmes having their own reporting teams in favour of a single pool of reporters and presenters that can cover a multitude of BBC News bulletins.

The BBC has previously faced strong resistance for some of its proposed cutbacks. One such proposal was to make the BBC Parliament channel a part-time service.

The funding for free TV licences for over 75s is being transferred from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to the BBC. The BBC has said it can't afford to offer all over 75s a free TV licence. Providing just those with Pension Credit a free TV licence will still result in some big changes and reductions in programmes on the BBC.

There have been allegations that this is all part of a wider plan to undermine the BBC, with signs that viewers increasingly objecting to having their licence fee money being diverted away from actual programmes, making the BBC less appealing than new style streaming services.

At the same time, unlike many streaming services, the BBC is also encumbered with services on older platforms, being used by steadily reducing numbers. However, in a sign that budgets will no longer stretch to cover as many platforms as before, BBC Red Button digital text will close this week.

One thing for which the BBC has found money for is a new sofa for Breakfast and North West Tonight.

After the best part of a decade of daily use by both programmes, the old sofa was torn and had a hole in it. A new sofa was installed over the weekend.