Nigel Farage’s weeknight programme has hit its highest ratings and beat the BBC and the Comcast-owned Sky News combined on Thursday.
In ratings figures seen by Guido Fawkes, Farage averaged 145,100 viewers, beating the combined viewers of the offerings of BBC News (113,100) and Sky News (29,100).
The ratings came after the political news website had revealed in recent weeks that Mr Farage’s 7 p.m. programme had beaten the BBC, in total on five nights, and continues to dominate commercial television, reportedly outstripping the viewership of Sky News every night of airing since Farage was launched on July 19th.
The BBC — which is funded by a mandatory ‘licence’ imposed on anyone who watches live television, even if they do not consume any BBC content — is said to be facing a “crisis”, with one million households stopping their payments of the TV tax in the past two years.
In May, Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis backed a referendum on defunding the BBC in the wake of the Diana, Princess of Wales Panorama scandal, saying: “There is serious concern across the country about the quality, impartiality and relevance of the BBC.”
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A poll from June 2020 found that half of Britons wanted the TV licence scrapped, with a survey from the previous year finding a plurality of 48 per cent to 44 per cent of people did not trust BBC journalists to tell the truth. Another poll revealed nearly two-thirds think the BBC is biased.
Such public perception has some support in research conducted by the likes of Civitas and News-Watch, which claimed that the BBC’s flagship radio news programme Today had over the years suppressed Eurosceptic voices in favour of Europhile ones.
Farage has been a longtime critic of the BBC, most vocally in the past year over the broadcaster’s coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests, which in one famous instance in June of 2020 described a BLM demonstration which saw 14 police officers injured as “largely peaceful”, sparking mass support for the #DefundTheBBC movement.
Mr Farage had said of the broadcaster that month: “I think its days are numbered. I think the idea that we’re all going to go on paying over £150 a year for this thing is for the birds. It’ll take time for it to go because the status quo is a very powerful thing. Trust in the BBC is disappearing. I think what you’re going to see are media challengers to the BBC and others that will spring up over the course of the next year or two.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 24, 2021