The BBC has reversed plans announced only yesterday to close its 11,000-strong online recipe library, in response to massive public reaction that saw over 159,000 people sign a petition in protest at the move.
However, the beleaguered broadcaster now faces fresh criticism that the entire furore was a PR stunt designed to incite public ire at government interference in the BBC.
The axing of the BBC Food website, which hosts the archive of recipes, is part of a £15m cost-cutting exercise prompted by last week's Government White Paper on the corporation's future. The plan was for its commercial website, BBC Good Food, to post new recipes from TV shows but for only 30 days.
Under the original plan the back catalogue would be archived and removed from search engine results, making it accessible only to people who had previously bookmarked specific recipes.
The news provoked an immediate and dramatic response from the public as well as criticism from political figures and its own presenters, including Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, who tweeted: "Did someone actually sit down and think right, what's the one cut we can make which will displease everyone and save no money?"
Within hours the BBC was briefing national newspapers that it would accelerate plans to move the recipes to the BBC Good Food site in response to the outcry.
When contacted by The Caterer a BBC spokesperson said: "We have never said we'd delete all the recipes and nor will we. We currently have two websites and we'll move to one. The recipes people love will still be available and we'll migrate as much of the content as possible to the BBC Good Food website. So you'll be able to carry on baking and cooking with the BBC."
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