Not this again! 61% of our TV programmes are repeats, BBC chiefs admit

Repeats make up 61 per cent of shows on BBC TV, the Corporation admitted last night.

Almost half of programming on BBC2 is old content, compared with 30 per cent five years ago.

Even on flagship BBC1, recycled content counts for a third of its programmes and has increased in peak viewing times

Repeats of classic shows such as Only Fools and Horses currently make up 61% of programming on BBC TV

The figures, released by the BBC in response to a Freedom of Information request, challenge its claimed commitment to ‘original programming’.

Bosses have warned that the number of repeats could keep rising as cuts to save the corporation a total of £1.3billion take hold.

They have admitted that BBC2 will effectively become a repeats channel, with 56 per cent of its content rehashed.

The high level of repeats on digital channels led to calls last night for them to be axed.

In 2011, just 15.8 per cent of programming on BBC3 and only 21.2 per cent on BBC4 was new.

Even in peak time, almost three-quarters of BBC3 shows and more than half of BBC4’s are reruns, even though the channels only run from 7pm to 4am.

Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group, said: ‘Viewers will feel cheated that they are getting endless repeats in return for their licence fee each year. Auntie should scrap BBC3 if there aren’t enough new programmes.

‘Bosses need to focus on delivering high quality and unique programming.’

The BBC, which released figures for the year to last March, said it was focusing on its prime-time content, particularly on BBC1. But it conceded there would be sacrifices elsewhere.

A spokesman said: ‘Repeats are scheduled to reach different audiences and are rarely shown in the same slot. On BBC1, for example, over 91 per cent of programmes in prime time are new.

‘Audiences value having several opportunities to catch something they may have missed.’