The British TV industry is “losing the arguments around Public Service Broadcasting and hasn’t yet found the words to make an effective case,” according to Brexit: The Uncivil War and Quiz creator James Graham.
Graham, who is also behind BBC1’s upcoming drama Sherwood, said a “new case” needs to be forged to keep broadcasting in public hands, with Channel 4 potentially on the verge of being sold to a private buyer.
“Unless we can find that language and case I worry about the decline of broadcasters which, if they didn’t exist, would deplete our cultural language,” said Graham. “We are losing the arguments around PSB.”
Graham was arguing passionately at today’s Freeview Outside the Box event in a VT alongside historian and broadcaster David Olusoga, presenter Mobeen Azhar and former Endor Creative Director Sara Johnson, who has just launched disability advocacy group Bridge 06.
Olusoga called on creatives to “shout and convince our leaders to recognise what a success story British broadcasting is,” while Azhar said broadcasters should learn from the big tech companies and streaming services to “respond to the demands of an increasingly savvy and increasingly knowing audience.”
Speaking later on an Outside the Box panel, PSB champion Jane Bonham Carter said PSBs can bring the UK government on side with powerful arguments about the PSB’s global soft power and economic success.
“The streamers are only here because of the incredibly successful PSB industry and talent,” explained Bonham Carter, whose cousin is The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter.
“Our PSBs represent our culture as well as the cultures of beyond and that is not something the streamers are interested in.”