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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 14:19 GMT
BBC hits back over film criticism
Juliette Binoche in Chocolat
Chocolat will be shown on BBC Two on Christmas Eve
The BBC has hit back at accusations it is showing "too few" British films during the Christmas period.

Pact - which represents independent film-makers - said just three of the 2,000 films being shown over the festive fortnight were British.

But a BBC spokesman said it was screening five UK film premieres over the full Christmas and New Year period.

The corporation accused Pact of taking the number of homegrown films it was showing out of context.

Pact said BBC One and BBC Two were only showing three British films made since 2000 - and none of those between 19 and 26 December.

Five premieres of British movies have been given prime slots over the Christmas period
BBC spokesman

Only one British film made in the last 10 years, Chocolat, is being shown between 23 and 26 December, it added.

"This acts as a stark reminder of the BBC's appalling attitude towards British film," Pact said on Monday.

"As the leading public service broadcaster the BBC should fully recognise its responsibility to support British film, something it manifestly fails to do."

Tim Willis, director of film at Pact, told the BBC News website that Pact did not wish to dictate BBC broadcast schedules, but it did want the BBC to spend more of its film acquisition budget on UK films.

'High profile'

But the BBC spokesman said the corporation was "committed" to UK film.

The Christmas premieres include Bend It Like Beckham, I Capture the Castle, Chocolat, The Mother and Stage Beauty, which was shown on BBC Two on Saturday.

All these films had UK financial backing, with three of them backed by the BBC.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which will be screened on Christmas Day, featured a British cast and was filmed in the UK, but was backed with American money.

The BBC spokesman added: "Five premieres of British movies have been given prime slots over the Christmas period.

"Pact's decision to exclude Holiday Monday, Holiday Tuesday and New Year's Day from their calculations suits their agenda but does not reflect the fact that these are some of the most high profile slots of the year.

"These premieres are in addition to a season of 15 British films entitled True Brits, a John Mills season of five films coupled with a documentary about his life and the terrestrial premiere of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone.

"This is significantly more British film that any other broadcaster and shows the BBC's commitment to UK film."



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