May 08,2016

Wolf Hall wins best drama BAFTA

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Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky uses his acceptance speech to defend the independence of the BBC BAFTA TV Awards. Kosminsky triggers ovation protest at Government threats to BBC and Channel4: don’t cut it BBC!

By Sarah Doran
Sunday 8 May 2016 at 7:50PM

Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminksy launched a passionate defence of the BBC when he took to the Bafta TV Awards stage to accept the award for Best British Drama this evening.

“In a week John Whittigdale described the disappearance of the BBC as ‘a tempting prospect’, I’d like to say a few words in defence of that organisation,” Kosminsky said on stage in London.

The director of the Bafta-winning BBC2 drama said that it was time for viewers to “stand up and fight” for the public broadcaster against what he saw as the government’s “dangerous nonsense.”

The government’s White Paper on the future of the BBC is due to be published this month, examining the next BBC charter and the scope of the BBC’s remit.

“I think most people would agree that the BBC’s main job is to speak truth to power, to report to the British public without fear or favour,” Kosminsky said. “It’s a public broadcaster independent of government, not a state broadcaster. All of this is under threat right now.”

“The Secretary of State has talked about putting six government nominees on to the editorial board of the BBC,” he continued. “And as a sign of things to come, the Secretary of State has been telling the BBC when to schedule its main news bulletin, what programmes it should make, and what programmes it shouldn’t make. It’s not something I thought I’d see in my lifetime in this country.”

Kosminsky went on to compare the situation to that of North Korea or Russia, and argued that Channel 4 was also under threat, telling the audience that government suggestions of privatisation would “eviscerate” the broadcaster.

“This is really scary stuff folks, and do you know what? It’s not their BBC, it’s your BBC. In many ways our broadcasting – the BBC and Channel 4 – is the envy of the world and we should stand up and fight for it, not let it go by default, and if we don’t, blink and it’ll be gone. No more Wolf Halls, no more Dispatches,” he said.

“It’s time for us to stand up and say no to this dangerous nonsense,” he ended.

The audience responded with a standing ovation for the Wolf Hall director.

After leaving the stage, the director said in the Bafta press conference that “without the BBC Wold Hall would not have been made.” Wolf Hall’s leading actor Mark Rylance backed up his director’s speech, saying, “I agree with them completely. I’ve made wonderful work with the BBC.”

Last week the Department for Culture, Media and Sport agreed to take into consideration the views of 9,000 Radio Times readers which it had previously ignored during the consultation stage.

Radio Times editor Ben Preston said at the time, “Soon we’ll discover whether the Culture Secretary has actually listened to your overwhelming support for an independent public service broadcaster supported by the licence fee. Watch this space.”


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