Whovians invade the BBC
Whovians arise! - © nuj
A cyborg joins the demo - © chris jury
Former Doctor Who, Peter Davison - © nuj
23 November 2015
Time Lords, cyborgs and stars from Dr Who joined together under the Love it or Lose it banner to offer their support to the BBC.
Peter Davison, former Doctor Who, joined fellow actors Bertie Carvel and Sophie Aldred, Whovians in costume, June Hudson, the woman responsible for Tom Baker's iconic scarf and members of the NUJ, Bectu, Equity, Musicians' Union and Writers' Guild outside the BBC's headquarters in London.
They were campaigning as the corporation's future is put under threat as it faces charter renewal. John Whittingdale, culture secretary, is challenging the size and scope of the BBC and whether popular programmes such as Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing and the Great British Bake Off should be left to commercial broadcasters.
They voiced fears that the backdoor deal between BBC management and the Treasury for the corporation to take on the payment of free licence fees for 75s and over, will have a severe impact on the BBC's budget.
Whovian at the BBC ©NUJ
Peter Davison, said the BBC, like the NHS, is unique and crucial to the UK and we should all be proud of it. Sophie Aldred said that as she travels the world to Doctor Who conventions she sees the BBC is the envy of the world. Bertie Carvel said the BBC played a huge role in the UK's creative industry, Dot Gibson, of the National Pensioners Convention said the BBC was a lifeline to many older people, adding that it should be the government's responsibility to pay for the licence of over-75s, and Chris Jury, Deadbeat in the Greatest Show in the Galaxy, said the BBC's role as a public service broadcaster played a vital role in democracy as it is free from commercial, corporate pressures.
Peter Davison, who played Doctor Who from 1981-1984 said:
“It’s very easy, as with the National Health Service, to take things for granted. The BBC pumps an amazing amount of entertainment into our homes for an amazingly small amount of money. It’s the cost of a good cup of coffee from one of our finer tax-avoiding coffee shops on the high street. If the government wants to take away popular programming, and I understand that’s what they want to do, then they undermine popular support for the BBC. And what’s going to happen to these popular programmes? Presumably someone else is going to make them and they will charge us £35 a week to watch them. We have to protect the BBC … this is something really, really precious. And once it’s gone it’s gone forever, it’s not coming back.”
Fellow Time Lords Peter Capaldi, Sylvester Mccoy and Camille Coduri joined Peter Davison and have signed a statement shared by organisations who are campaigning for the BBC to continue to have the resources to produce top-quality drama and news.
The statement recognising the importance of the BBC as a keystone of the culture, economy and citizenship of the UK and says:
• We believe that the BBC’s founding mission – to inform, to educate, to entertain should remain the bedrock of what the BBC does and should apply to all new media/technology the BBC publishes in or broadcasts on.
• We believe that the licence fee is currently the best way to fund the BBC and that it should be set at a level that ensures the corporation remains the cornerstone of the successful British creative industries; at a minimum it should increase by RPI.
• We believe in an independent and efficient BBC that is accountable to audiences, staff and those who work in the creative community, and believe that their voice must be central to the Charter renewal process and in the broadcaster’s future.
Follow the NUJ's BBC campaign page
Sign Bectu's Love it ot Lose it petition
Sign the 38 Degrees letter to David Cameron