British programmes including The Teletubbies may be shown in North Korea in a bid to “improve [citizens'] understanding about the outside world,” according to the Foreign Secretary.
BBC Worldwide is currently negotiating broadcasting programmes including EastEnders, Top Gear, Doctor Who, and Mr Bean, with North Korea’s state-run TV channel DPRK.
A source at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told the Sunday Times that the programmes could be shown to “open people’s eyes” without upsetting Kim Jong-un’s regime.
“I have always believed that what brought down the Berlin Wall was not highbrow diplomacy but Dallas and Dynasty,” a senior FCO source told the newspaper.
“Programmes sent to North Korea would have to be something that isn’t offensive, like Mr Bean, EastEnders, Miss Marple or Poirot.”
The source added that series depicting war such as Dad’s Army would not be suitable, but rather “The Good Life, with a bit of gardening and squabbling in the kitchen” would be an option.
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Sir Richard Ottoway said: “This is a good use of British soft power.”
Writing to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “In the long term this is a good way to improve understanding about the outside world within such a closed society.”
A spokesman for BBC Worldwide told the Mirror: “Work remains ongoing on a possible initiative to supply a range of high quality BBC programmes to the DPRK.”
The FCO aims to show citizens alternative lifestyles in the totalitarian state where the leader allegedly executed his uncle last year.
North Korea recently welcomed US basketball player Dennis Rodman to offer Western entertainment as part of celebrations for Kim Jong-un's birthday.
Mr Rodman and a number of other former NBA players came under criticism for staging an exhibition match against a North Korean team in early January.