Celebs React To Channel 4’s Sell-Off: ‘Cultural Vandalism’

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With the dramatic news that the government is planning to privatise Channel 4, many celebrities, influencers, MPs and media executives took to social media to voice their reactions.

From Kirstie Allsopp to Matt Lucas, Jeremy Hunt and Jed Mercurio, most seem to be against the idea of selling Channel 4 off to private stakeholders.

Many are noting that even though the channel is owned by the government, it doesn’t use any public funding thanks to its unique operating model.

Channel 4 has been around since 1982, and is funded primarily by adverts. It’s a free-to-air channel, and is available on all the major TV platforms including Freeview and Freesat, and has its own streaming service, All4.

The channel runs on a unique ‘publisher broadcaster’ model, with no in-house productions at all – instead, content is commissioned from various UK production companies.

Channel 4 all4 on tv
All4

After a year-long consultation, culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced on Twitter that she has “come to the conclusion that government ownership is holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon”, with the government hoping to raise £1bn from the sale.

Jed Mercurio, creator of Line of Duty and a prolific TV writer and producer, was quite vocal against the sale:

Kirstie Allsopp, co-presenter of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location, had this to say about the Channel’s possible sale: 

Channel 4 News anchor, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, helped clear out some facts and thoughts about a possible future:

Comedian and presenter Matt Lucas, who hosts The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, added a reminder on Channel 4’s current operating model –

The Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off (Photo: Channel 4 – Mark Bourdillon)

Actress Amanda Abbington, who starred in Sherlock and Mr Selfridge, replied directly to the secretary – 

Radio presenter Darryl Morris wrote that Channel 4 is, currently, “a brilliantly British idea” –

Callum Scott Howells, star of Channel 4’s It’s A Sin, is among many who shared an online petition that calls to stop the privatisation of Channel 4:

It's a Sin channel 4
It’s A Sin (Photo: Channel 4)

Script supervisor and music producer Edward Russell reminded us that It’s A Sin may not have seen the light of day – if it weren’t for Channel 4:

Some, of course, were pleased with the news – such as GB News presenter and columnist Dan Wootton, who called Channel 4’s news service “left-wing” –

Several Tory figures have also reacted to the possible sale. Jeremy Hunt, who himself is a former Culture Secretary, told Sky News that he is “not in favour of it because I think that as it stands, Channel 4 provides competition to the BBC on what’s called public service broadcasting – the kinds of programmes that are not commercially viable – and I think it’d be a shame to lose that.”

He also spoke on LBC, saying that competition is important, and that Channel 4 is good for giving the BBC a run for its money:

Ruth Davidson, former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, was also vocal with her objections, saying that Channel 4’s privatisation is “the opposite of levelling up” –

On the other end, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Digital Culture Media and Sport, Lucy Powell, posted a long comment, saying that selling Channel 4 to what is likely to be a foreign company, is “cultural vandalism” – 

We will add more reactions throughout the day, as they become available.

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