Channel 4: Privatisation — [Mr Nigel Evans in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:43 am on 21st July 2021.

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Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State 10:43 am, 21st July 2021

If my right hon. Friend will forgive me, I am going to come to those points. Given the limitations of time, I am anxious to do so.

I do not dispute the list of programmes, many of which are great, made by Channel 4 over the past 40 years. There are some real jewels among a lot of other programming. It was once said that Channel 4 is a public service tail wagged by a very large commercial dog, and that is the consequence of the model under which it operates. I have enjoyed things such as “It’s a Sin” and “Gogglebox”, and I want to talk specifically about “Channel 4 News”.

Occasionally, I have been cross with “Channel 4 News”. I have been just as cross with Sky News and BBC News. Channel 4 is an essential contributor to plurality. It is worth bearing in mind—again, this has not been recognised in the debate—that “Channel 4 News” is not actually produced by Channel 4. It is an ITN production, and ITN has done a terrific job in providing news programming that is different from the other broadcast news services. It has also been extremely successful internationally, as it has an Oscar-nominated newsroom and has won five Emmy awards.