Page last updated at 09:58 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 10:58 UK

Celebrities express concerns at Tory BBC plans

Catherine Tate and David Tennant
Catherine Tate and David Tennant lent their signatures to the letter

Some 50 famous faces including David Tennant and Catherine Tate have signed an open letter expressing concerns at Conservative plans for the BBC.

The letter in The Observer newspaper said the party is "attacking" the BBC to serve commercial rivals' interests.

A Tory spokesman called the claims "nonsense" and said they had "expressed their support for a strong BBC".

Labour say Tory plans pose a "grave threat", while the Lib Dems say licence fee payers should be consulted.

Other signatories to the letter included comedians Eddie Izzard, Harry Enfield and Jo Brand, John Barrowman and Meera Syal.

Disrupted

It stated: "Let's not take the BBC for granted. It is the most important cultural organisation in Britain and an indispensable part of our society, admired and envied throughout the world."

But it admitted that it was "right that there is a national debate about the future of the BBC".

Its specific concerns included "leading opposition politicians'" advocating the selling off of BBC Radio 1 and dismantling the BBC Trust.

Actor Roger Lloyd Pack, another of the signatories to the letter, said: "If we attack the way the BBC is funded, we'll end up with no channel where viewing isn't disrupted by commercials every 15 minutes.

"Watching the likes of David Attenborough's documentaries would never be the same again," said the Only Fools and Horses star.

The Conservative spokesman added: "The corporation was founded by a Conservative Government in 1922 and we want it to continue to be a valued and trusted public institution."

Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said: "Thankfully the people, not newspapers, decide elections and everyone who cares about the future of BBC programmes should heed this warning when they vote."



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