The project has now gone £27million over budget and is not expected to be finished until May 2023, which will be nearly five years late. It comes after the annual licence fee is now increasing from £157.50 to £159 from this month, months after three million over-75s lost their free TV licence entitlement. But the cost of the project has sparked a furious reaction from social media users.
One person tweeted: “EastEnders’ £87million takes a step closer to completion.
“What a waste of the licence fee something needs to be strong BBC we all should stop paying the licence fee.”
Another person added: “I just read the BBC spent £87million on a new set for Eastenders…they spent my licence fee on it and I’m furious.”
A third person also called the amount spent a “waste of BBC licence fee money”.
They said: “What a complete waste of BBC licence fee money to build a new set.”
The new set includes a revamp of the soap’s famous Mitchell brothers’ mechanics garage, the Beale’s fish and chip shop and Ruby Allen’s night club.
EastEnders returned in September after filming was halted due to the Covid pandemic.
Filming is said to now follow social distancing guidelines, with tricks such as CGI and Perspex screens, as well as using actors’ and the use of stars’ real-life partners as body doubles for intimate scenes.
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“However, the government has missed the boat to reform it. Instead of coming up with a workable alternative, it has sealed its own fate through a failure to develop a broadband infrastructure that would allow serious consideration of other means to fund the BBC.”
The committee also said it had “explored existing alternatives” to the licence fee.
However, it concluded there was no alternatives that were “sufficiently attractive to justify recommending… not least given the disruption and expense of doing so”.
It added: “On balance, the licence fee remains the preferred option for that period.”
However, the BBC responded that it “welcomed this thorough and detailed report”.
The BBC added in a statement: “We welcome the conclusion that the licence fee is the best way of funding a universal BBC.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for a comment.