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Embattled BBC execs have cheered themselves up with a bizarre quasi-religious bonding course. Reports say top brass and presenters were required to wash jelly off each others' feet as part of a day of strategy boutique imagineering.

It was part of an exercise that forced the suits to walk through tanks of the raspberry-flavoured children's favourite blindfolded.

According to The Telegraph, one senior exec said: "The point was that they did not know what they were walking through until the end. Well, I think that was the point. I don't think they were too thrilled about washing the jelly off each other's feet."

The frankly disturbing-sounding wheeze also included the 200-odd participants wearing Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair masks, and carrying robotic babies that would wet themselves. It sounds like something out of Brass Eye.

The Beeb's in-house rag Ariel reported that the exercises aim to "refresh perspectives" through "immersive experiences". There's no word on whether joss-sticks and whalesong were involved.

News of the £10,000-a-day course comes as BBC management is under fire for a £2bn cost-cutting drive that will see 1,800 redundancies.

BBC-bashing is of course something of a national sport, and much of the right-wing press was foaming at the mouth earlier this week when it was revealed the corporation spent £120,000 on its Christmas party... for 4,000 staff. That works out at an outrageous £30 per head - about enough for two glasses of Blue Nun, a turkey sandwich, and entertainment from the Chuckle Brothers.

For the record, the Vulture Central Christmas party - sponsored by Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, the MoD, Ofcom and the BBC - took place on Richard Branson's fabulous Necker Island.

The cost of flying everyone there on the party zeppelin, the Britney Spears gig, the rounds of Fabergé egg golf we played, and four jeroboams of vintage Krug per head is still to be calculated by top economists. ®

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