BBC licence fee: Hugh Grant calls Tories ‘insecure nut jobs’ over plans to ‘destroy’ broadcaster

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has said Tories will change BBC funding in 2027

Isobel Lewis
Monday 17 January 2022 08:52
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Peter Bone challenges BBC to invite him on to discuss bill to scrap licence fee

Hugh Grant has hit out at the government over plans to scrap the licence fee that funds the BBC by 2027.

On Sunday (16 January), the Conservatives announced that they would abolish the licence fee at the next opportunity if they are still in government, with culture secretary Nadine Dorries introducing a two-year freeze that she said would “be the last”.

Instead, she said, the UK will have to “discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling” television programmes.

On Sunday night, Grant joined the entertainment industry figures speaking out in defence of the BBC and against the planned funding changes.

“The BBC is something the whole world admires with envy,” the A Very English Scandal star wrote.

“It is entirely appropriate that the insecure, spittle-flecked nut jobs of this government want to destroy it.”

He also retweeted a post from The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci, which suggested that the BBC instead introduced a paid subscription model allowing international viewers to use iPlayer abroad.

Initially leading criticism of the government plans was comedian Nish Kumar, who called the Tories “a pack of p***ed up cultural vandals”.

“I know that it feels like absolutely everyone hates the BBC right now, and there are good reasons for that, but ending the licence fee is bad news,” he wrote.

BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker tweeted: “​​I am well aware that the BBC makes mistakes and needs to change but the media landscape would be much poorer without it. Those 3 letters are trusted and respected around the world.”

Dorries is expected to freeze the annual cost of a television licence at £159 for the next two years, with 5.1 per cent inflation expected to put this in line with a real-terms cut of £2bn in the corporation’s finances.

The government is currently locked in negotiations with the corporation over the settlement and is expected to make an official announcement soon.

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