Bragg claims Channel 4 has lost the plot claims Bragg
War on the box: Broadcasters' anger boils over in advertising subsidy row
Wednesday 13 December 1995
Channel 4 has long campaigned to end the formula, which is reviewed at the end of 1997, but ITV says it relies on the money. Between 1993 and 1997, Channel 4 estimates it will have had to pay pounds 300m.
The disagreement boiled over on the eve of the new Broadcasting Bill, when Melvyn Bragg, chairman of Border TV, said on behalf of the ITV barons that Channel 4's chief executive was "a mad Lewis Carroll figure - it's as if he is in Plunderland".
He described Michael Grade as a Dorian Gray pretending to keep to his remit to cater for interests not served by other terrestrial broadcasters, but really chasing ratings. "He puts on a sober mask of public service but inside, up in the attic, its real expression seems to be commercial lust."
Channel 4 had cut its arts, news, documentaries, drama and news output and increased its American shows, Mr Bragg claimed at the launch of the ITV report on the funding formula. "Channel 4 has lost the plot, and if it doesn't watch out it will lose its role."
His comments were backed by Leslie Hill, chairman of ITV, who said Channel 4 should continue to pay the subsidy to ITV after 1997. "Channel 4 portrays itself as a plucky little channel being sucked dry by the fat cats, but that isn't the truth."
ITV argues that between 1982 and 1993, it sold Channel 4 airtime and subsidised it by a total of pounds 430m at today's prices.
Since the 1990 Broadcasting Act, Channel 4 has been allowed to sell its own airtime. But the Act says it must pay ITV half the advertising income it generates over and above a figure representing14 per cent of the total advertising sold by the two channels. In 1993 that extra income was pounds 38m, in 1994 it was pounds 57m and this year pounds 74m.
Mr Grade replied that Mr Bragg was making a series for Channel 4. "Talk about biting the hand which feeds you."
The ITV report was "one of the funniest scripts to come out of ITV in a long time", he added. "It's a triumph of greed over reality, the last desperate throw by ITV to fabricate an argument which says they should hang on to money they never expected to get."
- 1 Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
- 3 Tube strike: This pedestrian-friendly map tells you the time it takes to walk between stations
- 4 Pamplona Running of the Bulls 2015: Three men gored and 10 hospitalised on first day of festival
- 5 Sarah Jessica Parker explains why she is not a feminist: 'It's not just about women now'
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis: Greek future in the euro slips into deeper uncertainty as Alexis Tsipras arrives at emergency talks without a written plan
Man soars over Calgary after tying 110 balloons filled with helium to his lawn chair for PR stunt, gets arrested for mischief
Tube strike: This pedestrian-friendly map tells you the time it takes to walk between stations
Pamplona Running of the Bulls 2015: Three men gored and 10 hospitalised on first day of festival
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...