Channel 4 privatization—celebrities speak out against the plan

Channel 4's privatization was recently announced but everyone from politicians to Channel 4 stars are speaking out against the plan

Channel 4 privatisation
(Image credit: CARL DE SOUZA / Stringer / Getty Images)

Channel 4's privatization has shocked a lot of people in the UK, and many celebrities have taken to social media to challenge the government's proposed plan.

It was announced on April 4, 2022, that the government would be going ahead with the plans to privatize Channel 4. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced, "Channel 4 rightly holds a cherished place in British life and I want that to remain the case. I have come to the conclusion that government ownership is holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon."

"A change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and freedom to flourish and thrive as a public service broadcaster long into the future. I will set out the future plan for Channel 4 in a White Paper in due course."

The politician concluded, "I will seek to reinvest the proceeds of the sale into leveling up the creative sector, putting money into independent production and creative skills in priority parts of the country—delivering a creative dividend for all." 

A spokesperson for Channel 4 responded to this news in a press release and claimed that the outlet was 'disappointed' that the announcement didn't recognize the public backlash to this privatization.

"With over 60,000 submissions to the Government’s public consultation, it is disappointing that today’s announcement has been made without formally recognizing the significant public interest concerns which have been raised," said the Channel 4 press release.

"Channel 4 has engaged in good faith with the Government throughout the consultation process, demonstrating how it can continue to commission much-loved programs from the independent sector across the UK that represent and celebrate every aspect of British life as well as increase its contribution to society, while maintaining ownership by the public," the statement added.

Many celebrities have also taken to social media to share their reactions and it appears that many people are very unhappy with this announcement. 

Investigative journalist, Katie Arnold, said on Twitter, "Channel 4 does not cost the public any money. It’s profitable. It supports an independent TV production industry across the UK. It nurtures new talent. It invests in investigative & foreign journalism like no other. C4 is an asset to the UK. There is no good reason to privatize."

Location, Location, Location star and Channel 4 regular Kirstie Allsopp, said, "This is a load of utter twaddle! No true Conservative would sell Channel 4, Lady T will be spinning in her grave. C4 was set up to foster the British film & TV industry and it has done that job admirably. Any Tory MP who votes for this is a traitor to their party & country."

Bake Off co-host and Little Britain star, Matt Lucas, took to Twitter to encourage fans to sign a petition to stop the privatization of the channel. "Boris Johnson: Stop the privatization of Channel 4 - Sign the Petition!"

Former Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson, also spoke out about this news.

"Channel 4 is publicly owned, not publicly funded. It doesn't cost the taxpayer a penny. It also, by charter, commissions content but doesn't make/own its own. It's one of the reasons we have such a thriving indy sector in places like Glasgow. This is the opposite of leveling up," said the politician.

What does this mean for the public?

Channel 4 was founded in 1982 and is currently owned by the government. The channel receives funding from advertisers and although it may be owned by the public, it is not supported by funding from taxpayers. This means that Channel 4 does not cost the UK taxpayer any money.

In comparison, the BBC, which was also not privately owned, has no advertising and is funded by the UK taxpayer via TV licenses.

When Channel 4 is privatized, it is likely that there will be some big changes as the new owners attempt to make a profit. At present, profit is not the main goal of Channel 4 as money from advertisers is constantly reinvested back into the channel.

The Guardian said, "Analysts believe that a privatized Channel 4 would face 40% to 50% cuts to its £660m programming budget—spent on content such as news and current affairs, Gogglebox and It’s a Sin—to force its model into that of a commercially-focused broadcaster."

This means that original shows may be less likely to flourish on Channel 4. This could mean shows like Gogglebox, It's a Sin, The Help, and Edward VIII: Britain's Traitor King, may be less likely to be made in the coming years.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.