Moffat urges industry to stand up for BBC

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Sherlock creator Steven Moffat has urged the creative community to “speak up now” for the BBC, claiming a lack of support could result in the broadcaster’s demise.

His concerns have been backed by Appropriate Adult and Mo screenwriter Neil McKay, who warned that the Corporation’s commercial competitors will “make hay while they can” in the wake of the Jimmy Savile and Newsnight scandals.

Both were speaking at last week’s Writers’ Guild Awards, where Moffat, who is also the showrunner for the BBC series Doctor Who, received a prize for outstanding writing.

Addressing actors and writers at the event, Moffat warned that the BBC is “under terrible attack” and urged the industry to defend it. He said if no one speaks out in support of the Corporation it “will never be here again”. “That light will go out. And that would be a terrible and awful thing for everyone in this room. So let’s start shouting now,” he added.

Speaking to The Stage, Moffat described it as “painful” to see the BBC under such pressure, claiming that the Corporation has such a strong sense of morality and fair play that it would not defend itself.

“That means we have to defend them,” he said, adding: “Can you think of a newspaper editor who would have resigned in the circumstances George [Entwistle] did? This is an organisation so honourable it requires other people to come to its defence.”

Moffat also said there is nothing else like the BBC, describing it as “unique and special”.

Meanwhile, McKay, who won a prize for best TV short-form drama at the guild event, told The Stage that the BBC is “the home of so much creativity” and the industry should “stand up and defend it and not get sidetracked too much when mistakes are made”.

Like Moffat, he expressed concern that the Corporation could collapse if it comes under continued attack.

“The BBC has many commercial competitors, and they will make hay while they can, while this is going on, regardless of what is going on in their own backyards. The BBC is a sitting duck. Mistakes have been made but it’s a brilliant and valuable institution,” he said.


  1. Well he would say that wouldn’t he,seeing he has been in the (Public’s) BBC pockets for sometime? Of course the BBC is extremely tarnished by the whole SaVILE affair and has NOT handled the situation satisfactorily at all and I’m afraid it will be some time before Auntie’s reputation and trust is restored to the licence payer who will be reminded everytime it tunes into any of it’s channels.

  2. The BBC have talked up war-mongering, the fake WMD, and every kind of appalling atrocity committed by Uncle Sam, including running a Gulag on Cuba.

    The harm that’s been done to the BBC was done BY the BBC, who are solely responsible for what has happened.

    Thomson claimed that viewers would voluntarily pay the Licence Fee if it were not a criminal offense to avoid doing so. Let’s put that claim to the test? The Licence Fee is an anachronism that keeps the BBC as the Government’s handsomely-salaried crony and apologist. That must end.

  3. “The harm that’s been done to the BBC was done BY the BBC, who are solely responsible for what has happened.”

    I see. So it was the BBC that molested young girls, not Jimmy Savile? The BBC were responsible for the culture of sexism in the 70s?

    For that matter, were the BBC *as a whole* responsible for the Newsnight errors? Did BBC Drama choose to slander Lord McAlpine, or BBC Comedy withhold the Savile allegations? Perhaps BBC Wales or BBC Worldwide were consulted on these matters? Or was it instead a number of individuals, under the aegis of a newly-appointed Director-General who did not manage to get control of the situation in time?

    The anti-BBC sharks have scented blood in the water and are preparing for a frenzy, and only Murdoch and his like will benefit from that. The rest of us will lose a service that is one of the wonders of the world and one of this country’s greatest assets. And as for the licence fee – how much less is it than a Sky subscription?

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