'Wolf Hall' director says he rowed with Culture Secretary over BBC licence fee

Mr Whittingdale has unveiled a green paper announcing a review of the BBC’s royal charter

Ralph Blackburn
Saturday 26 September 2015 00:18 BST
Mark Rylance plays Thomas Cromwell in the BBC's 'Wolf Hall'
Mark Rylance plays Thomas Cromwell in the BBC's 'Wolf Hall' (BBC)

The director of TV drama Wolf Hall, Peter Kosminsky, has revealed he had “a row” with the Culture Secretary on Thursday over the future of the BBC.

Mr Kosminsky explained he argued with John Whittingdale over whether or not the licence fee was a tax, with Mr Whittingdale declaring that it was.

Speaking at the Radio Times Festival yesterday, Mr Kosminsky described the Government’s proposals for the BBC as “cultural vandalism”.

He said: "I'm as concerned as I can be about what the Government is proposing.

“I went to see the Secretary of State John Whittingdale yesterday at 11 o'clock and I came away more concerned ... we had a bit of a row, to be honest with you.”

In July Mr Whittingdale unveiled a green paper which announced a review of the BBC’s royal charter, questioning whether it should continue to be “all things to all people”.

Earlier this month the Secretary of State asked whether the BBC should be allowed to have its news at 10pm, the same time as ITV and Sky’s.

Mr Kosminsky, 59, directed the recent adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s book, but has otherwise not worked for the BBC in over a decade.

He said the Government’s proposals were "akin to cultural vandalism", asking: "How dare they try to destroy our BBC?"

He said the Conservative’s policy was “ideological” - as well as “payback” for the way the political debates had been handled during the general election campaign.

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