Head of doomed Film Council John Woodward quits

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The Independent Culture

The chief executive of the UK Film Council, John Woodward, announced his resignation yesterday with a sideswipe at the Government's planned scrapping of the organisation.

Mr Woodward said of the job: "I enjoyed every minute of it up until 5.35pm on 24 July this year" – the date details of the proposed cut emerged. He will leave the organisation in November. The Film Council had an annual budget of £15m to invest in British films.

Its chairman, Tim Bevan, said that, under Mr Woodward's leadership, it had backed a "succession of successful films and film-makers".

When the plan to abolish the council was announced, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it would ensure "greater value for money".

But it has proved controversial, with both sides launching media broadsides in defence of their position.

In August, more than 50 leading actors and actresses wrote to the Daily Telegraph opposing the move.

Several industry figures, including an executive from Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks studio, wrote to Chancellor George Osborne in support of the council.

In return, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey wrote to Mr Woodward demanding "urgent reassurances" over claims that it was using public money to fight its proposed abolition.

It also came in for criticism over the size of the salaries paid to some of its senior staff.