Conservative leadership candidates: leave privatising Channel 4 behind with Boris!

15 July 2022

As part of the Channel 4 Ain't Broke initiative, 16 independent production companies have signed a letter to all Conservative leadership candidates, calling for them to commit to stopping the privatisation of Channel 4. 

Leading companies behind popular shows (including Peaky Blinders, The Crown, and Ackley Bridge) have made it clear that this policy must be left behind with Boris. The letter has received press coverage in the Independent, Northern Echo, The Express and Star, and the Yorkshire Post

Read the letter below

Dear Candidates for Conservative Party Leader,

As the Conservative Party leadership election begins in earnest, we are writing to you to highlight the damage businesses like ours will face if the current Government’s plans to sell off Channel 4 are allowed to continue. We urge you to reconsider and stop the sale.

Since 1982, Channel 4 has been a Great British success story, delivering for UK audiences and making a future in television a realistic dream for everyone, no matter where in the country you are from. It’s the channel that brought us Gogglebox, Derry Girls and Four Weddings and a Funeral. It’s owned by all of us but doesn’t cost the country a penny.

Channel 4 is working well as the UK’s levelling up broadcaster supporting:

  • 140 small businesses with over half their income;
  • 10,000 jobs, with its headquarters in Leeds and hubs in Glasgow, Bristol, and Cardiff;
  • 15,000 training opportunities for young people around the country;
  • £74 million in profit last year to be reinvested into the industry;
  • £1 billion contributed to the UK economy.

The current plans risks levelling down the creative industry resulting in:

  • more than 60 independent production companies going bust;
  • 1 in 3 regional jobs supported by Channel 4 being lost;
  • cuts of up to £86 million a year on spending in the nations and regions and £320 million a year to the independent sector.

According to the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television, the current plans for Channel 4 risks “a direct transfer of value [away] from hundreds of SMEs and creative entrepreneurs.” In short, these plans could decimate independent production in the UK.

The public, like the industry, is against the sale. Over three quarters of Conservative voters (76 per cent) want the company to remain publicly owned, while 82 per cent of the general public are against the sell off. When the public were asked to rate ten key Government policies in a recent poll, the Channel 4 proposal was the only plan to receive a negative approval rating (-21 per cent).

Channel 4 isn’t broken, please don’t try to fix it.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Sommers, Managing Director, Alaska TV Ltd

James Stevenson Bretton, Founder & Managing Partner, Blink Industries Ltd

Christopher Hird, Founder, Dartmouth Films Ltd

Kath Shackleton & Zane Whittingham, Producer & Director, Fettle Animation Ltd

Jacqui Morris, Director, Frith Street Films Ltd

Bruce Goodison & Kate Cook, Founders, Indefinite Films Ltd

Nina Kojima, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Partisan Media Ltd

Caroline Cooper Charles, Chief Executive, Screen Yorkshire Ltd

Andrew Sheldon, Founder, True North Ltd

Alan Clements, Managing Director, Two Rivers Media Ltd

Wayne Sables, Creative Director, Wayne Sables Project

Andy Harries, Chief Executive Officer, Left Bank Pictures Ltd

Samm Haillay, Co-founder, Kirlian

Sara Hardy & Blue Ryan, Company Directors, Gold Star Productions Ltd

Larry Budd & Paul Dunphy, Co-Founders, Northern Imposters Ltd

Ben Sutton, Head of Production, Rare TV Ltd

 

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