We Must Fight for Channel Four

You may remember, back in 2012, I appeared alongside Lyn in a Channel Four documentary about the British Paraorchestra. Of course, it was Lyn who was in the orchestra, and I just played a supporting role; yet that remains one of my greatest, fondest memories. The documentary itself was made by What Larks productions, commissioned by Channel Four to be aired just before the Paralympic closing ceremony. It thus gave viewers some background to the orchestra and why they were playing. If you ask me it was a great move, and the type of program Channel Four has a reputation for.

I have written on here before about how much I like the BBC and how much I admire it’s programmes, particularly things like the documentaries of Sir David Attenborough and Micheal Palin. That admiration must extend to Channel four too. Of course, the programmes C4 airs are rather different and less conventional, but no less interesting. So to hear that the company’s future is now at stake and that the Tories are considering privatising it, has me very concerned indeed. As the Beeb article I link to states, all that will happen if C4 is placed into private hands is that it will start producing more and more derivative, commercial pap. Sooner or later it will begin to axe it’s more cutting-edge, boundary-challenging output in favour of more tame, mainstream things, in order to appeal to wider, tamer audiences; and in the end British culture will lose something important.

Yet that may be why the Tories are doing this. They see broadcasters like Channel Four as a threat: it isn’t afraid to speak its mind, and its evening news bulletin is renowned for getting to the heart of the political matter. Indeed, its Dispatches documentary series has a reputation for exposing the social injustices caused by Tory benefit cuts. This may be an entirely political, retaliatory move on the part of the Tories; and all the more reason why we must fight to keep Channel Four as it is.

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