Boris Johnson has accused the BBC of being ‘wasteful and out of touch’ for not moving the EastEnders studios to Olympic Park.
The Mayor of London told the Evening Standard he had even recruited Prime Minister David Cameron to help rescue plans to move the soap from Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire to the Olympic media centre in the East End, after he was informed by BBC director general Mark Thompson that the move had been abandoned.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt reportedly held last-minute crisis talks with Mr Thompson to try to save the move to the £330 million facility after the 2012 Games.
Boris fumed: “This was an opportunity for the BBC to deliver better value for money for hard-pressed licence-fee payers and confront critics who say it’s bureaucratic, wasteful and out of touch.
“There was the chance for the BBC to show genuine commitment to the East End – an area it has harvested for audiences for decades. I’m astonished that the boss class don’t see the obvious advantages of rooting a popular drama in an area it claims to portray.”
The 47-year-old politician – who has cameoed in the soap – claimed the move could have counteracted ‘relentless negativity’ in EastEnders’ storylines.
Boris said: “Perhaps if they seized this opportunity their plots and script lines would reflect the vibrancy and optimism of this critical part of the capital and not the relentless negativity that often comes across”
A BBC spokesman said: “EastEnders is committed to Elstree and there are no plans to relocate any time soon. We are not currently in active negotiations with any party.”