Esther Rantzen makes feelings clear on future of the BBC after 'jungle of misreporting': 'I'm not confident'

Esther Rantzen makes feelings clear on future of the BBC after 'jungle of misreporting': 'I'm not confident'

Esther Rantzen's daugther discusses her mothers cancer and joining Dignitas

GB News
Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 20/02/2024

- 00:01

Dame Esther Rantzen was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer back in May 2023

Dame Esther Rantzen presented the BBC’s That’s Life! for 21 years, from 1973 until 1994 and presented her own show, Esther, on BBC Two from 1994 to 2002 – but her loyalty to the broadcaster seems to have waivered.

Rantzen founded the charities Childline, a helpline for children which she set up in 1986, and The Silver Line which was designed to combat loneliness in older people’s lives, set up in 2012.

She has also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and created the Children of Courage segment for Children in Need – dedicating a large amount of her journalism career to the BBC.

Despite navigating her way through stage four cancer, Rantzen has remained vocal about her passion for journalism and recently admitted the BBC needs to “tread carefully” in a world of “fake news”.

Revealing what she thinks about the BBC’s future, she told Radio Times: “Good journalism is as crucial as ever. Today we live in a world of fake news, vitriolic social media, malevolent conspiracy theorists and bigotry.

“The BBC is often criticised because it has a responsibility to the public who pay for it. Somehow, through a jungle of misreporting, the BBC needs to tread a careful, objective path.”

Dame Esther Rantzen

Dame Esther Rantzen founded childline and has had a huge career with the BBC


She added that she was “not confident” about the broadcaster's future and questioned how it would be funded going forward.

“To ensure it’s available to everyone, and free of Government interference? And stays confident enough to fend off the attacks by competitors in the media who are jealous of its place in the public’s hearts and minds? Those are vital questions.”

After campaigning for 37 years, Rantzen decided to quit Childline after being diagnosed with stage four cancer – handing over the reins to her daughter Rebecca Wilcox.

Discussing her reasons to step down, she told The Express: “Childline has always had a very special place in my heart ever since we launched in 1986.

Dame Esther Rantzen

Dame Esther Rantzen has slammed the future of the BBC


“But I have been concerned I have not been able recently to listen to children, meet staff and volunteers and spread awareness of our crucial lifeline the way I used to, due to my own health issues.

“Rebecca and I both jumped at the idea, suggested by the NSPCC, that she should take on the role because she has known, respected and cared about Childline almost all her life.

“She is just as committed to child protection as her father and I have always been. She is a terrific mother herself and understands the issues facing children today.

“And of course, she will take with her my best wishes to every team she meets and works with.”

Dame Esther Rantzen

Dame Esther Rantzen has stage four cancer


Despite stepping away from Childline, Rantzen has shifted her focus and called for a free vote on assisted dying after joining Dignitas.

Dignitas is an assisted dying clinic in Switzerland and she has revealed she may consider going if her condition gets worse and shows no improvement.

She added she believes change is needed so families in that situation do not face prosecution and added: “We’ve got to do something. At the moment, it’s not really working, is it?”

You may like