MPs Blast BBC For Blowing £87million On New Eastenders Set

The BBC was yesterday accused of 'complacency' over the astonishing £87million bill for its new EastEnders set.

The project, nicknamed E20 after the soap's fictitious postcode, is already £27million over budget and is not expected to be completed until May 2023, nearly five years late.

MPs said BBC bosses 'badly' managed the construction and that they made 'a serious error' by failing to consider what project management skills they needed.

The public accounts committee said they secured a contract poorly, drastically increasing costs.


The committee also found that contract negotiations took six months longer than planned, partly because of discussions about what bricks to use for the set.

Meanwhile, the corporation spent £50,000 on samples.

MPs added that they were 'disappointed by the BBC's complacency in managing this project, particularly in its early stages'.

And they said the BBC 'underestimated the scale and complexity of the project, including how it would age the new sets so that they either exactly replicate what viewers are used to, or look realistic where there are new locations'.

MPs were told the original set, built in 1984, is 'no longer fit for purpose'.

The BBC is building the new set at its Elstree studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

It consists of a 'front lot' – a brickwork replica of the current set – and a 'back lot', which will provide extra locations to 'better reflect modern East End London'.

A BBC spokesman said: 'We strongly reject the notion that there has been any complacency in managing this project.

'Like any building work of this scale, there have been challenges along the way including construction market issues beyond our control and working on a brownfield site.'

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