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BBC TV boss Danny Cohen has hit out at ‘well-rewarded’ stars who ‘attack or undermine’ the corporation in public.

He called on ‘those who are paid by the BBC but criticise it in media interviews and in public to think hard before they join the daily chorus of BBC-bashing that takes place in some quarters’.

It comes after personalities including David Dimbleby and Jennifer Saunders criticised the corporation.

Last month, the Question Time host said the BBC should examine ‘whether it is too powerful for its own good’ while Jennifer described the corporation as an ‘executive-run place for idiots’ which wasted money on flowers and food for talent.

Speaking at a launch for the BBC’s Christmas schedule, the Cohen said: “I’m finding a little too often that people who work for the BBC and are well rewarded for it are quick to attack or criticise the organisation in public rather than deal with any issues or concerns internally.”

The executive, who is head of television at the corporation, admitted it had ‘been a difficult year for the BBC in a number of ways’ and added it should ‘never be immune to criticism’.

He said: “But I know that BBC staff often wonder why some of our on-screen talent and some former members of staff choose to attack or undermine the BBC in public rather than express any concerns they have in private conversations within the BBC. In short, this drives BBC staff mad.”