Fry joins push to save Radio 4 short stories

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Stephen Fry is the latest writer to join a campaign protesting against Radio 4's planned cull of its short story content.

The Society of Authors and National Short Story Week have amassed more than 5,000 signatures protesting against the reduction, planned for next year.

Radio 4, the world's biggest commissioner of short stories, will be cutting the number of short stories it broadcasts from three a week to one a week. The news last week was greeted with massed protests online.

The Society of Authors is to present the petition at a meeting tomorrow with Radio 4's controller, Gwyneth Williams.

"Please reconsider," said Fry in his contribution to the petition. "I know budgets are tight, but there are few, very few things the BBC does better."

The campaign is led by the short story writer Susie Maguire Names on the petition include Ian Rankin, Joanna Lumley, Bill Paterson, Aminatta Forna, Miriam Margolyes, and AL Kennedy.

A BBC spokeswoman said that Radio 4 will still commission 100 short stories a year, although 50 will be on the smaller station Radio 4 Extra.