The broadcaster David Dimbleby criticized Boris Johnson’s “attacks” on the BBC and called them “dangerous”.
Former Question Time moderator, 81, also said he disapproved of BBC moderators who are paid for outside appearances.
He told The Times: “I am very dismayed by the Johnson attacks on the institution. I think they are people friendly. I find them pretty dangerous. I don’t think they’ll work. “
He added, “Margaret Thatcher always had it for the BBC but she didn’t try to destroy it … A lot of the people who support Johnson are also very fond of the BBC. I don’t know what’s going on in his head. Me find it pretty scary. “
Speaking to BBC presenters who are paid to appear outside the company, he said, “If you are presenting the news, you shouldn’t make 20 grand to chair a painting conference.”
Dimbleby said the Question Time panels had become “less impressive” as “a lot of politicians … have gradually refused to come” thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
But “it is your duty to explain what you are doing … To say when you get to the top,” I will not be interviewed “like Boris Johnson did in the last election is so arrogant … It doesn’t make you a smart operator. It undermines the democratic process, “said Dimbleby.
Commenting on Downing Street’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings, he added, “He’s like a machine gun … Downsizing the BBC, getting rid of all older public servants, attacking the judiciary … You will get nowhere by attacking them all. ”
His comments follow reports that Downing Street plans to cut TV license fees and fund the BBC through viewer subscriptions.
The Sunday Times previously quoted a senior source on Downing Street as saying, “We’re not bluffing the royalty … we’re going to beat them up.”