Tony Hall at the BBC HQ
Tony Hall urged for the government to make the review less political Getty

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale announced that the government will launch an investigation into the BBC on Thursday (16 June), advised by industry experts.

Former CEO of Channel 5, Dawn Airey, former MD of Classic FM, Darren Henley, and former chair of Ofcom, Colette Bowe, are amongst the advisors on the panel.

"Each member of the independent advisory group brings individual skills, experience and expertise," Whittingdale said in a statement. "Together they will contribute to the oversight of the Government's Review of the BBC Royal Charter. I look forward to working with them on this important issue."

The investigation will look into the dominant market position of the broadcaster and is led by big names in the media industry, some of which are executives at former or current competitors of the BBC.

One of the advisory panel members is Alex Mahon, the former CEO of Shine Group, a worldwide broadcasting network. Ashley Highfield, CEO of local news giant Johnston Press, is on the panel as well.

Highfield has spoken up about the BBC in an open letter to the broadcaster, published in the Guardian in February 2015, in which he said local press can deliver media plurality like the BBC never could.

He added: "The BBC sets the standard for national and international news. They simply don't have the resources to be brilliant at everything."

"Last year I suggested a way of working with the BBC that could increase public value by increasing the reach of BBC content if the BBC allows us to access it – all of it – from video content to weather - free of charge, and take it to market."

The broadcaster's director-general, Tony Hall, wrote in the Observer on 12 June that he would want the government to take the politics out of the debate surrounding the BBC's future.

He said: "This is not a new debate and last week did not mark some seismic shift in the relationship between the BBC and the Government. Our independence is precious and will never be negotiated away."