The Beeb has seen an angry response to its decision earlier this week and now its own presenters from past and presenter have joined the debate. Former presenter of Newsnight, Mr Paxman said the BBC was shooting itself in the foot. He said: “Benefits are the business of government, not broadcasters. Like many of the BBC’s friends, I keep wondering how the organisation can keep shooting itself in the foot.
“It must look like a chunk of Emmental by now.”
Sir Michael, star of many BBC travel programmes, said: “I know the BBC did a pretty bad deal [on licence fee negotiations]… I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of the people who now have to fork out for their licence.”
And nature presenter Mr Fogle was the most vocal against the corporation.
In a post on Instagram, he said: “I love the BBC. I think it is one of the greatest institutions in the world. It is the envy of most nations, it makes amazing content and I’d argue it is still value for money.
“I also owe my whole career to the BBC. They gave me my first break and they (you) employed me for many years but I am disappointed in the recent announcement on the abolition of free licences to the over 75s.”
Petitioners have been set up in a bid for the BBC to row back on its demands.
Age UK’s petition has seen more than 410,000 people sign up.
Another survey, on the Parliament website, has racked up 128,000 signatures and another has drawn 186,000 people to back it.
The Parliament petition means the threshold of 100,000 for it to be considered for debate in the Commons has been passed.
People are so furious at the BBC’s decision that they have called for a boycott of the TV broadcaster.
A Facebook post that called for the boycott on Friday 21st June has been shared more than 144,000 times.
But Twitter users have gone further, urging a boycott to take place this friday, June 14th.
Since the plans were announced on Monday, people have flocked to Twitter to vent their anger at the BBC’s plans.
One user wrote: “What the BBC is doing to people over 75 is disgusting you should be ashamed of yourself we celebrated 75 years of D Day and now they have to pay £154 for their licence what a joke #boycottbbc.”
Another said: “Come on #BBC mugging ther over 75’s? To many TV will be the only voices they hear all day, their only contact with the outside world.
“This action will potentialy force pensioners to give up their TV’s because of cost. Shame on you! #LicenceFee #boycottBBC
A third wrote: “The BBC are now making 3.7m pensioners pay for their TV licences that were once free! Unbelievable!
“£154 means making the choice between food, heating or in this case, a blasted TV licence for many lonely over 75s! #boycottbbc”
Responsiblity for paying for the free TV licences was passed by the Government to the BBC in 2015.
The Beeb said the bill for the free licences was to reach £745million by 2021.