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Leave BBC alone, superstars tell Cameron

Posted in World

Published on July 16, 2015 with No Comments

Some of the world’s top Hollywood stars and TV presenters – James bond star Daniel Craig, Harry Potter author JK Rowling, Judi Dench, David Attenborough and Chris Evans have written to prime minster David Cameron asking him to leave BBC alone as “a diminished BBC would mean a diminished Britain”. The stars are among the 29 signatories who are concerned that “nothing should be done to diminish the BBC or turn it into a narrowly focused market-failure broadcaster”.

The letter comes ahead of a government green paper that is expected to crack down on BBC programming and the way Britain’s official broadcaster functions.

Cameron appointed John Whittingdale as the new culture secretary following the May 7 general election.

Whittingdale has always been highly critical of the BBC and produced a string of reports slamming the BBC as chair of the influential House of Common’s culture select committee. Whittingdale is expected to set out a range of proposed reforms in his green paper on Thursday, among them the scrapping of popular shows and the replacement of the licence fee.

The letter says “We have seen that the government has pledged to modernise the licence fee, return funding that had been diverted to pay for broadband roll-out, and increase the licence fee in line with inflation in return for the BBC taking on the costs of licence fees for the over 75’s.

The government and the BBC are now entering the Charter Review. We are writing to place on record at the very start of the process our concern that nothing should be done to diminish the BBC or turn it into a narrowly focused market-failure broadcaster”.

The letter also signed by Richard Curtis, Stephen Fry, Gary Lineker and Steven Moffatt added “The BBC is a very precious institution. Like all organisations, it has its faults but it is overwhelmingly a creative force for good.

Britain’s creative economy is growing and enjoying unprecedented success. The BBC is at the heart of this as the global showcase for our creative industries. The BBC is trusted and loved at home by British audiences and is the envy of the world abroad. During the course of the Charter, we will continue to make the case for a strong BBC at the centre of British life and will be vocal in making the case for the BBC as it approaches its centenary”. The government has appointed a panel of experts from across a range of industries to support the BBC Charter Review.


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