Entertainment & Arts

Christmas TV repeats raised in Parliament

Sir David Jason, Buster Merryfield and Nicholas Lyndhurst in a 1986 edition of Only Fools and Horses
Image caption Sir David Jason, Buster Merryfield and Nicholas Lyndhurst in a 1986 edition of Only Fools and Horses

Concerns the BBC and other broadcasters show too many repeats at Christmas have been raised in the House of Commons.

William Hague, Leader of the House of Commons, said he hoped broadcasters would "be trying to give real quality to the public this Christmas season".

Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke had sought a debate on the issue, accusing the BBC "of lazily repeating more often than a hearty Christmas dinner".

A BBC spokesman said its Christmas repeats had been "carefully chosen".

He also claimed the corporation invested more in television at Christmas than any other UK broadcaster and that more than 90% of programmes shown at peak time on BBC One would be new.

The issue was raised following reports in the Daily Mirror and elsewhere that 63% of Christmas television on the four main channels - 729 out of 1,154 shows - would be repeats.

Previously broadcast editions of Only Fools and Horses, The Royle Family and ITV's Midsomer Murders are among the re-runs singled out.

"You may have noticed the reports this morning that this year the BBC at Christmas is showing more repeats than ever before," said Mr Shelbrooke in Parliament on Thursday.

"When I buy a DVD I don't expect to keep paying for it year on year," the MP for Elmet and Rothwell in West Yorkshire continued.

"Could we please have a debate on the BBC getting back to its remit and charter on public broadcasting?"

Mr Hague said he hoped the BBC would be "listening to what you say" but said he was unable to schedule a debate that would, in any case, "be unlikely to change the Christmas schedule".

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