Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith’s name has been mentioned in connection with a mini-controversy brewing with the BBC. Tim Walker of The Telegraph is reporting that the BBC has come under scrutiny for giving sporting event tickets as gifts to TV stars, sports personalities, and business executives as thanks for exclusive interviews and personal access.
The Telegraph states:
“…passes to the Olympics, the FA Cup final, and Wimbledon – worth thousands of pounds – were handed out to, among others, Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith….The BBC gave out a total of 344 tickets for top sporting events last year…”
The Eleventh Doctor got tickets to the Wimbledon finals. Other famous names specifically pointed out in The Telegraph’s story as recipients of these gifts include US movie star Bette Midler and Ireland rugby player Brian O’Driscoll.
Smith (whose name is surely being bandied about because of Doctor Who‘s status), Midler, and the others really did nothing wrong or illegal. The controversy is whether or not a public entity such as the BBC should be giving away tickets worth thousands of pounds as gifts. To be fair, it appears the Olympics tickets are the main source of the controversy, as those were the ones the BBC apparently paid for with license fee money. A total of 74 tickets to Olympics events, at a cost of 5000+ pounds, were given to executives and others.
A BBC spokesman replied:
“At London 2012, a small amount of the tickets the BBC purchased were used for business purposes, such as hosting other international broadcasters, as is standard practice.”
So, Kasterborites, do you think the publicly-owned BBC should be giving out sports tickets to TV stars and others? Is the BBC feeling pressure to compete with the privately-owned perks-happy Hollywood studios, or did the BBC see this as a harmless way to thank or impress some high-profile people?