Daniel Craig, JK Rowling and Sir David Attenborough are among a group of celebrities to sign an open letter to David Cameron, urging the Prime Minister to protect the BBC from cuts.
The latest plea to the government in defence of the Corporation states that “a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain,” and also boasts Dame Judi Dench, Miranda Hart and Chris Evans among its signatories.
The letter – delivered to 10 Downing Street – continues: “Like all organisations, it has its faults but it is overwhelmingly a creative force for good,” adding that the BBC is “the envy of the world.”
The appeal comes after the publication of the BBC’s annual report yesterday, revealing increased staff numbers and higher talent spend than the previous year.
Following yesterday’s delivery, the BBC’s director-general Tony Hall launched an impassioned defence of the Corporation which last week reached an agreement with the government to take on the cost of the over-75s’ licence fee – an undertaking predicted to amount to £750m by 2020/21.
“Let’s not have a debate dominated by commercial interests and people with ideological preconceptions… and what they think of the BBC,” said Lord Hall. “We want an open and honest debate with the public about what they want from the BBC.
“The rest of the world envies the UK for having the BBC…. On any measure this is a world class institution and any debate about the BBC must start with that fact.”
Meanwhile, culture secretary John Whittingdale has appointed an eight-person panel – including former Channel 5 boss Dawn Airey and Stewart Purvis, former editor-in-chief of ITN – to work on the renewal of the BBC’s royal charter which expires at the end of 2014.