Hugh Grant and Sanjeev Bhaskar criticise plans to scrap BBC licence fee

Following news that the government plans to scrap the BBC’s licence fee in 2027, public figures have come out in support of the broadcaster.

It was reported over the weekend that Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries intends to freeze the licence fee at £159 until April 2024, with plans to enact a new Royal Charter in 2027 that would give the government power to scrap the fee altogether and look at other, non-compulsory ways of paying for the service, including a streaming model.

In a tweet, Dorries wrote: “This licence fee announcement will be the last. The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors, are over. Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”

Ever since the announcement, famous faces have criticised the move, arguing that it would result in a considerable cut to the broadcaster’s income and affect its ability to produce shows including the likes of Line of Duty, Peaky Blinders and Doctor Who, as well as incurring further job losses.

The Kumars star Sanjeev Bhaskar said: “When u consider all the landmark radio & TV shows from Goons to Python, Not the 9 o’ clock News to the Day to Day, Hancock, Dad’s Army, Fast Show, League of Gentlemen, Goodness Gracious Me etc and the shows they spawned, u begin to see how vital the BBC is. And that’s just comedy.”

Hugh Grant also tweeted in support of the BBC, criticising the government’s plans: “The BBC is something the whole world admires with envy. It is entirely appropriate that the insecure, spittle-flecked nut jobs of this government want to destroy it.”

Gary Lineker also tweeted: “The BBC is revered, respected and envied around the world. It should be the most treasured of National treasures. Something true patriots of our country should be proud of. It should never be a voice for those in government whoever is in power.”

Late Night Mash comedian Rachel Parris added: “Just a reminder that the BBC licence fee doesn’t just pay for Strictly. C-Beebies, GCSE Bitesize, The Proms, Radio 6 music, Popmaster, Attenborough, and the World Service as well as ‘the news where you are’…”

Dara Ó Briain also responded to Dorries in a reply to her own tweet.

“For the people who keep asking why Stargazing Live doesn’t happen any more, this is why,” he said. “They just don’t have the money any more, and it’s because of this government. The BBC isn’t just BBC news, and this is a ludicrously short-sighted act of vandalism from a ‘Culture Secretary’.”

I Hate Suzie creator Lucy Prebble added her support too, calling for viewers to “support the BBC, even when it’s being attacked as a distraction from this dirty meringue of a government. Support the BBC as if Attenborough is dying, which he is, which we all are. Support the BBC, even as they note you into despair. Support the BBC.”

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Hugh Grant and Sanjeev Bhaskar criticise plans to scrap BBC licence fee