BBC chief Tony Hall has defended the broadcaster from criticism that it makes too many entertainment shows.

His comments came as the corporation, which has enjoyed huge success with Strictly Come Dancing but has been criticised for muscling in on the territory of rivals with talent show The Voice, is expected to announce job cuts in BBC News.

Lord Hall told the Culture, Media and Sport select committee: "If you look at entertainment we do less than ITV, but what we do brings the nation together.

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"We are an enormous investor in British comedy and comedy tells you about our lives and about us.

"If you look at Miranda, The Wrong Mans or Mrs Brown's Boys, these are important ways of contributing towards UK culture."

The BBC's director-general told MPs: "We are about distinctive, original programmes. When you ask the public, 'does that mantra ... inform, educate, entertain still hold true?', the answer is 'It does'."

Lord Hall confirmed that BBC director of news and current affairs James Harding would be making an announcement this week.

Staff have been warned that a "significant" number of redundancies are likely to be made in the corporation's news department.