Hugh Grant Among Stars Defending BBC Over 'Insecure Nut Job' Government's Licence Fee Plan

·7 min read
Hugh Grant (Photo: Vera Anderson via Getty Images)
Hugh Grant (Photo: Vera Anderson via Getty Images)

Hugh Grant has branded the government “insecure nut jobs” over plans to abolish the BBC licence fee.

The actor is among a list of big names who have defended the national broadcaster after the culture secretary Nadine Dorries indicated she wanted to find a new funding model for the BBC after the current licence fee funding deal expires in 2027.

Over the weekend, Dorries said that the next announcement about the BBC licence fee “will be the last”, claiming it was “time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content”.

Amid accusations that the comments came as a distraction to the on-going partygate scandal as part of a plan to save “big dog” Boris Johnson, Hugh came out fighting for the BBC alongside stars including Gary Lineker, Adil Ray, Deborah Meaden and Dan Walker.

The Notting Hill actor wrote: “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.”

Match Of The Day presenter Gary said the BBC “should be the most treasured of National treasures”, adding: “It should never be a voice for those in government whoever is in power.”

BBC Breakfast host Dan pointed out all the BBC services that are provided as part of the licence fee for 43p a day.

“I am well aware that the BBC makes mistakes and needs to change but the media landscape would be much poorer without it,” he said. “Those 3 letters are trusted and respected around the world.”

Good Morning Britain host Adil shared an archive video listing off all of the BBC’s services, sarcastically asking: “What has the BBC ever done for us?”

Dragons’ Den star Deborah sent a message to “those kicking the BBC right now”, warning: “You will miss it when it’s gone.”

A number of other stars including Lenny Henry, Tamzin Outhwaite and Sanjeev Bhaskar also added their voice to the debate:

Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell said the government is signalling “the end of the BBC as we know it” in a “pathetic” attempt to distract from Johnson’s difficulties over No.10 parties.

She said the £159 licence fee is “incredibly cheap” and criticised Dorries for making an announcement on Twitter as part of a Tory plan to offer “red meat for their backbenchers”.

The annual BBC licence payment normally changes on April 1 each year and is set by the government, who announced in 2016 that it would rise in line with inflation for five years from April 1 2017. It is reported to be worth around £3.2 billion to the BBC.

Under new plans, the BBC licence fee is set to be frozen for the next two years, effectively equalling a funding cut for the broadcaster, which has already made a number of cuts and redundancies in an attempt to balance its books.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said that negotiations between Dorries and the broadcaster are “ongoing”.

The BBC has so far not offered comment on the reports.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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