A BROADCASTER and horticulturist has warned that the licence fee freeze will likely affect specialist programmes.

Monty Don made the remarks after the Government's two-year freeze of the BBC licence fee.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries told the Commons that the BBC had asked for the fee to rise to over £180 by the end of the current settlement but said it will instead be fixed at £159 until April 2024 before rising with inflation for the following four years.

She argued the freeze was necessary to help households through “difficult times”, telling the Commons: “When it comes to monthly bills, this is one of the few direct levers that we have in our control as a Government.”

The presenter of Monty Don's Adriatic Gardens on BBC 2 has warned specialist programmes will likely suffer if there is a freeze.

The 66-year-old said: "Although there is a debate to be had over the extent and duration of the licence fee, the government freeze will save payers the grand sum of 15 pence per week over the coming year.

"However it will mean that programmes like Adriatic Gardens will be much less likely to be made."

The Gardener's World presenter, from Herefordshire, has appeared at various Malvern Shows and supported the Good Soil Project at Top Barn Farm.


Former Worcester MP Michael Foster agreed with the comments, adding: "Going to make a prediction here.

"Middle England will not support attacks on the BBC that threaten the output from revered broadcasters like Monty Don and Sir David Attenborough."

BBC chairman Richard Sharp and director-general Tim Davie issued a statement arguing that there are “very good reasons for investing in what the BBC can do”.

“A freeze in the first two years of this settlement means the BBC will now have to absorb inflation,” they said.

“That is disappointing – not just for licence fee payers, but also for the cultural industries who rely on the BBC for the important work they do across the UK.

“The BBC’s income for UK services is already 30% lower in real terms than it was 10 years ago. We will set out the implications of the settlement later, before the end of the financial year, but it will necessitate tougher choices which will impact licence fee payers.”