When you wish upon a star!

The BBC is to urge pensioners to voluntarily give up their free licence fee to save the corporation and protect their favourite programmes.

The BBC is to ask the over-75s to opt out of their entitlement to free licence fees, hinting that it will help secure the future of television or radio programmes.

A senior executive at the corporation said the elderly will be invited to pay at least £145.50 each year to the “cost of the BBC’s services” after it takes over responsibility for funding free licence fees in the years to come.

James Heath, director of policy at the BBC, said: “We will give those eligible households an opportunity to voluntarily pay for a TV licence and so make a contribution to the cost of the BBC’s services.”

Members of staff at the corporation have regularly spoken out about the threat to programming on screen and on air if further funding cuts are imposed, suggesting licence fee-payers’ favourite shows could suffer.

It was stated that both the reporter, and James Heath, managed to keep straight faces until the end of the interview!