Thompson: 'BBC must be leaner'

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The BBC "will lose established stars" as it goes through a series of massive cuts, Director General Mark Thompson has warned. The corporation's executives will not be exempt from the axe either with major job losses on the horizon.

Speaking in Edinburgh, Mr Thompson said "top talent" pay will be reduced, adding: "Sometimes we will lose established stars as a result. When we do, we will replace them with new talent".

The corporation recently lost two of its most high-profile stars, Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles, when they moved to ITV.

A large part of the speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival was made up of a robust defence of the corporation and broadcasting in general, with Mr Thompson hitting back at what he called "exaggerated claims about waste and inefficiency" aimed at the BBC.

In the lecture, called The Battle for Quality, he cited public support for the BBC and referred to the 17 million people who tuned into BBC1 after the general election.

He said: "There is still a very strong instinct in this country to come together through broadcasting to share great national moments."

Mr Thompson praised Sky's "technical innovation" and "willingness to take big risks" but said it was time they invested more in "British talent".