Dame Judi Dench and a host of celebrities sign open letter defending BBC as a 'creative force for good'

Hollywood stars and celebrities including JK Rowling, Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench have penned an open letter to David Cameron warning “a diminished BBC would mean a diminished Britain”.

The letter defending “a very precious institution” comes ahead of culture secretary, John Whittingdale, outlining potential reforms of the broadcaster tomorrow (Thursday 16 July), which include scrapping The Voice and part-privatising some production facilities.

“The Government and the BBC are now entering the Charter Review. 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,” reads the letter.

“In our view, a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain. The BBC is a very precious organisation. Like all organisations, it has its faults but it is overwhelmingly a creative force for good.

“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.”

Comedians David Walliams, Miranda Hart and Michael McIntyre; screenwriters Steven Moffat and Richard Curtis and some of the BBC’s highest profile presenters including Claudia Winkleman, Graham Norton and Chris Evans have supported the campaign.

Stephen Fry, Jamie Oliver, Michael Palin, Prof Brian Cox and Sir David Attenborough have also lent their names.

“During the course of the Charter, we will continue to make the case for a strong BBC at the centre of British life and will be vocal in making the case for the BBC as it approaches its centenary,” concludes the letter.

Last week it was revealed that over-75s will be asked to keep contributing to the licence fee on a voluntary basis despite no longer being legally required to pay the tax.

The full letter can be read below:

The Prime Minister David Cameron

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

Dear Prime Minister,

We have seen that the Government has pledged to modernise the licence fee, return funding that had been diverted to pay for broadband roll-out, and increase the licence fee in line with inflation in return for the BBC taking on the costs of Licence Fees for the over 75's.

The Government and the BBC are now entering the Charter Review. 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.

In our view, a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.

The BBC is a very precious institution. Like all organisations, it has its faults but it is overwhelmingly a creative force for good.

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.

During the course of the Charter, we will continue to make the case for a strong BBC at the centre of British life and will be vocal in making the case for the BBC as it approaches its centenary.

Yours Sincerely

Clara Amfo

David Attenborough

Clare Balding

Melvyn Bragg

Brian Cox

Daniel Craig

Richard Curtis

Judi Dench

Chris Evans

Stephen Fry

Nick Grimshaw

Miranda Hart

Lenny Henry

Gary Lineker

Michael McIntyre

Steven Moffatt

Trevor Nelson

Annie Nightingale

Graham Norton

Jamie Oliver

Michael Palin

Adil Ray

JK Rowling

Mark Rylance

Simon Schama

David Walliams

Rachel Weisz

Claudia Winkleman

Reggie Yates

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