Budget has always been an issue for the show, and I think it’s a bit naive to separate that from the political pressures the BBC faces, especially at the moment.
It’s no coincidence that we’ve had only had four full seasons of the show over the past six years. That’s a money issue as well as a management one.
I recommend reading some of the Private Eye coverage of the show’s various problems over recent years, it’s quite illuminating (both when it comes to the budget issues and the various personal issues surrounding the management of the show). It is a combination of lots of factors, I don’t think we can separate the show’s problems from the larger BBC pressures. Neither can we say its solely down to those more political factors, though.
Like I say, I don’t find it worth getting worked up over this stuff as I don’t think it makes much difference - other than maybe letting fans feel better by venting (like they vent and moan about everything else connected to the show).
Even if it could be handled better, I’m still grateful to have the show, given how close it seems to have come to falling apart in recent years - and falling off the schedules altogether.