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Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Judi Dench, J.K. Rowling and Stephen Fry are among celebrities who have signed an open letter to British prime minister David Cameron warning that “a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.”
The signatories of the letter, which was published in various newspapers, also oppose turning the U.K. public broadcaster into “a narrowly-focused market-failure broadcaster.”
Doctor Who and Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat, talk show host Graham Norton, Michael Palin, David Attenborough and TV chef Jamie Oliver are also among the signatories.
The letter was published ahead of the presentation of a “green paper” by the U.K. government on Thursday that will provide first thoughts on potential changes to the BBC mandate and reforms. They are expected to include a call to scrap broad-based entertainment shows that get strong ratings, such as The Voice, and possibly replacing the license fee that currently helps fund the BBC with a household tax.
The government and the BBC must then negotiate a new royal charter for the broadcaster with the current one set to expire at the end of 2016.
“We are writing to place on record at the very start of the process our concern that nothing should be done to diminish the BBC or turn it into a narrowly focused market-failure broadcaster,” the open letter said. “In our view, a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.”
It continues: “The BBC is a very precious organization. Like all organizations, it has its faults, but it is overwhelmingly a creative force for good.”
The letter also reads: “Britain’s creative economy is growing and enjoying unprecedented success. The BBC is at the heart of this as the global showcase for our creative industries. The BBC is trusted and loved at home by British audiences and is the envy of the world abroad.”
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