Public Accounts Committee

Renewing the EastEnders set inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published 20 March 2017. Government response published June 2019.


Report and response published

Scope of the inquiry

The BBC built the external filming set for EastEnders (including ‘Albert Square’) in 1984, and originally planned to use it for two years. It has lasted for 34 years but is no longer fit for purpose. The BBC’s E20 programme, to replace and enlarge the set and improve various infrastructure at BBC Elstree Centre, is now forecast to cost £27 million more, and take an additional two and a half years to complete, compared to its plans in October 2015.

A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report found that the BBC will not be able to deliver value for money on the E20 programme in the way that it envisaged in 2015. The BBC now forecasts that E20 will cost £86.7m – 45% more than the original budget. It is also estimating that it will be completed in May 2023 – 31 months later than planned.

On 30 January, the Committee will question the BBC on the reasons for the delays and cost increases, as well as examining the planning processes.

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