Peter Capaldi, the actor behind The Thick of It’s spin doctor-in-chief Malcolm Tucker, warned last week that the BBC is “seriously under threat from the [British] government.”
Speaking to the American chat show host Larry King, the current Doctor Who was asked how things were in Britain, and proceeded to outline his views on how the Tory government was behaving.
Capaldi: “I think with the new government, the organisation that makes our show, the BBC – which is one of the great organisations of the world, one of the most special organisations – is under threat. I think it’s seriously under threat.”
Capaldi: “From the government.”
Capaldi: “Yeah. And for its very existence.”
Capaldi: “Because the government doesn’t think the BBC supports it.”
King: “You mean because it does programmes that attack the government?”
King: “So like [US broadcaster] PBS has been accused of in America?”
Capaldi: “I think because it’s not answerable to shareholders and it entertains ideas, all kinds of ideas about Britain and about history and about history and about art that I think the government would rather not – they don’t want to pay for it.
“And I think it’s so important. I’m glad you asked me that question, because I think it’s one of the most important things that is happening in the country, and the BBC represents the spirit of our country.”
Pressed further by King, Capaldi went on the warn that the BBC could “vanish.”
Currently the Beeb is undergoing a Charter Review in which the government could reduce the funding given to the broadcaster by abolishing the licence fee, diminishing its ability to make programmes.
It is also facing competition from streaming services such as Netflix, as more people consume television online, which has led its director general Tony Hall to outline plans to adapt the broadcaster to the digital age.