LONDON — A host of British showbiz stars — including J.K. Rowling, Judi Dench, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz — have come to the defense of publicly-owned broadcaster the BBC as it struggles to defend itself from attacks from the right-wing Conservative Party government.
In an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, the two dozen or so celebrities from the world of film and television wrote: “In our view, a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.”
They added: “The BBC is a very precious organization. Like all organizations, it has its faults but it is overwhelmingly a creative force for good.”
In the letter, they express their “concern that nothing should be done to diminish the BBC or turn it into a narrowly focused market-failure broadcaster.”
Among the other stars to put their names to the letter are actor Mark Rylance, who starred in “Wolf Hall” and leads the cast of Steven Spielberg’s upcoming “The BFG,” Steven Moffatt, the co-creator of “Sherlock” and exec producer of “Doctor Who,” Richard Curtis, whose credits include “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually,” TV chef Jamie Oliver, nature show producer and presenter David Attenborough, and “Monty Python” star and documentary presenter Michael Palin.
The full letter, which was published on the Daily Telegraph website, reads:
Dear Prime Minister,
We have seen that the government has pledged to modernize the licence fee, return funding that had been diverted to pay for broadband roll-out, and increase the license fee in line with inflation in return for the BBC taking on the costs of license fees for the over 75s.
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.
In our view, a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.
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 center of British life and will be vocal in making the case for the BBC as it approaches its centenary.