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Doctor Foster’s Bertie Carvel: ‘The BBC must be protected from sinister government cuts’

Bertie Carvel speaks at the protest outside Broadcasting House. Photo: David Hutchison Bertie Carvel speaks at the protest outside Broadcasting House. Photo: David Hutchison
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Doctor Foster star Bertie Carvel has spoken out against “sinister” government cuts to the BBC, claiming theatre actors rely on television work to maintain their income.

The actor said the BBC can take more creative risks than its commercial rivals, and produced content superior to the “miles and miles of trash” on US television.

Speaking to crowds at a protest outside Broadcasting House, Carvel described the BBC as “the major employer and risk-taker” in television.

Warning against further cuts, he told The Stage: “We’re so lucky in this country, we don’t realise we’re born, we don’t know how lucky we are. And it’s not going to be until the sinister forces that are ideologically opposed to things like the BBC and the NHS have finally taken the last straw away, and the whole thing comes crashing down, that we’ll realise what we’ve lost.”

Carvel, who was attending the protest two days after the end of his run in The Hairy Ape at the Old Vic, went on to say that theatre performers depend on the BBC for vital work.

He continued: “The thing is that actors like me, who’ve made their careers on the stage, rely on doing a few days on telly – in something where people are looking for those cultural riches you get when you cast theatre actors – to keep our careers going. So it’s absolutely vital in that economic way.”

Claiming that “you get what you pay for”, Carvell added: “The strength of the BBC is based on the principle of the licence fee, which means that it can subsidise risk in a way that no commercial broadcaster ever would. Just switch a television on in America if you want to know what life without a proper publicly funded broadcaster is like. It’s just miles and miles of trash.”

Drama programmes will be protected from a recently announced £12 million cut to the BBC’s television budget, which forms part of £150 million in savings that the Corporation has to make.

The protest was organised by the Federation of Entertainment Unions, which includes Equity, BECTU and the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain.

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