Russell T Davies says he fears for the BBC if a Conservative government wins the 2015 General Election.
The former Doctor Who showrunner claims that the Tory party has created a situation where the licence fee may never be increased and that the Corporation is now under genuine threat of extinction.
“When the Conservatives got in, practically the first visitor David Cameron had was Rupert Murdoch, practically the first thing they did was freeze the licence fee with no consultation whatsoever,” Davies told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch today. “They attacked it immediately.
“If they win the next election they will do the same thing again. [The BBC] is under constant attack now. We are in a situation where the licence fee will never go up. I cannot imagine a rise being allowed now. And I genuinely believe in the BBC for its cultural worth. I think it is a magnificent powerhouse and I fear for it.
“Twenty years ago you couldn’t have a conversation where you could see the writing on the wall. Now there are powerful voices ranged against it.”
Asked what would happen if the BBC were scrapped he said that “writers will still write, programmes will still be made even if it’s in our bedrooms”.
He added: “Missing the BBC will be like missing the NHS. Everything that arrives in your home will be a commercial product and I don’t think that’s right.”
He said he has never worked for Sky but wouldn’t rule out working for the company, even though it is 39 per cent owned by News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch. He added: “Equally, I haven’t been beating down their door.”
He said that during his eight-year tenure working as the Doctor Who showrunner was a “marvellous” experience.
“I love the BBC. I genuinely love the BBC. When I worked at BBC I had a riot of a time. I would never criticise the BBC.”
The BBC is engaged in identifying around £1.5bn in savings over the next two years as part of its obligations under the current licence fee settlement.
It also faces two years’ negotiating with the government before the renewal of the Corporation’s charter and the decision is made about the size of the new licence fee in 2016.
Russell T Davies’ dramas Cucumber and Banana will be shown on Channel 4, E4 and 4oD on Thursday 22nd January. Channel 4 will also curate an online factual strand called Tofu about modern gay life