The BBC has refuted Ukip’s assertion that European Union money was used to make The Great European Disaster Movie.
Ukip says that the production company received EU funding but a BBC spokesperson has dismissed this claim: “No EU money was used in the making of the programme being aired on the BBC. Impartiality is of paramount importance for the BBC.
“This fictional programme reflects the author’s vision. BBC editorial guidelines do not prevent the acquisition of independent programmes which approach subjects from a particular perspective.”
The Storyville docudrama, which aired on BBC4 last night, takes place in a fictional post-EU future where Farage deports all immigrants to have arrived in the UK in the last decade, France’s far-right leader declares a state of emergency, Rome is looted and Islamic State is marching on Vienna.
The film-makers, Italian director Annalisa Piras and former editor of The Economist Bill Emmott, introduced the docu-drama explaining that they “made this film as a warning because we are worried about what’s going on in Europe and we think we should talk about it more.”
Yesterday Ukip MEP and financial affairs spokesperson Steven Woolfe called for the EU logo to be displayed on BBC programmes. “Between 2007 and 2013 the BBC was paid more than £22m by the European Union,” he said in a statement. “These funds are not identified as EU money in the BBC’s annual report. It is clear that some management in the BBC believe the supposedly independent news organisation must act as a propaganda agent for the EU.”
The film was followed by a special edition of Newsnight to discuss the issues raised. Chaired by BBC economics editor Robert Peston, guests included Emmett, former chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Norman Lamont, Conservative Ukip MP Mark Reckless, and Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, who dismissed the show as “blatant propaganda” in yesterday’s paper.