David Dimbleby - the long-time presenter of Question Time who recently featured in his own series Britain and the Sea - has suggested the BBC needs to "redefine its role," concentrate more on quality and get rid of cookery and gardening programmes.

David DimblebyDavid Dimbleby in 'Britain and the Sea'

Speaking on Richard Bacon's 5 Live radio show, the presenter, 75, said: "I do think the BBC needs to pull back a bit from some of the things it does, maybe cut back a bit on its number of television channels."

Dimbleby, who explored Britain's maritime heritage in Britain and the Sea, believes that programmes on BBC Four are made "on a shoestring" and that the corporation should "Cut out some of the gardening and cookery and all that on BBC Two and turn it back into a quality thing it was meant to be and then you have two big channels, One and Two."

Dimbleby - who recently got his first tattoo - added "[The management need] to answer questions about whether the BBC has got too big. Whether it is too powerful for its own good. Whether it's crushing newspapers, local newspapers particularly. 

"I think there is some truth in that. I'm not sure how you address it but I do think the BBC needs to pull back a bit from some of the things it does, maybe cut back a bit on some of its television channels."

Coming in for particular scorn was the BBC's coverage of the River Pageant to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. "I thought it was terrible," he said, bluntly, "I don't know what they thought they were doing frankly, but they thought that the pageant itself, the boats on the river, wouldn't really work and it would be technically difficult. 

"So they thought they'd have lots of side shows and the presenters wouldn't have to know about the boats, and they'd have some expert who knew about the boats. Then everything collapsed and the expert couldn't be got on air."

Last week, Home Secretary Theresa May accused the BBC of undermining democracy by encroaching on local newspapers with its major news websites. 

Britain and the Sea is still available on the BBC iPlayer.