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.