The Radio Times logo

Why didn’t anyone from Government resign over claims around Channel 4 privatisation says Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky?

In the old days Government ministers would have been forced to quit, says the acclaimed director

Published: Thursday, 28th January 2016 at 2:05 pm

Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky has said that the government should be ashamed for failing to admit that it was considering privatising Channel 4.


Speaking at the Radio Times Covers Party, the director said that the culture secretary John Whittingdale was “economical with the truth “ when he told the Edinburgh Television Festival last August that privatising the channel was not on the agenda.

“The ownership of Channel 4 is not currently under debate,” said Whittingdale of the idea which would net the Treasury an estimated £1bn but is fiercely opposed by the broadcaster.

However, less than a month later, a Government official was spotted with a briefing paper that suggested that this was not true – or at least that the situation had altered dramatically.

The leaked document read: “Work should proceed to examine the options of extracting greater public value from the Channel 4 corporation, focusing on privatisation options in particular.”

This suggested that proposals had already been drawn up in a bid to raise an estimated £1bn for Treasury coffers, despite Whittingdale’s denial.

Speaking at the Radio Times Covers Party, Kosminsky told about his fury over the discovery.

He also suggested that heads could perhaps have rolled in Whitehall.

“I remember a time when a Government Minister, when they were caught out – how shall I put it? - being economical with the truth – resigned.

“I remember Lord Carrington resigning when things went wrong over the Falklands. That doesn’t seem to happen today does it?

“Certain under taking were given at the Edinburgh Festival that Channel 4 would not be privatised. A matter of moments later a document is photographed which suggests that privatisation has been under active consideration for a while but nobody resigns. Nobody apologises. Life seems to go on. Am I the only old fashioned person in the country who thinks that’s a bit shabby?”


See the full interview here:


Sponsored content