Privatise Channel 4, says Big Brother chief

Channel 4 should be privatised, the former chief creative officer of Big Brother production company Endemol has said.

Andy Duncan, Channel 4’s chief executive, has previously estimated that the broadcaster faces a funding shortfall of £100 million because of digital switchover.

Industry figures have advocated that Channel 4 receives a slice of the BBC’s licence fee to plug the shortfall.

But Peter Bazalgette told the Royal Television Society in a speech that handing the broadcaster direct public money could compromise Channel 4.

He said: “One of the things many of us cherish most about Channel 4 is its bloody-minded independence. And we fear for it if it takes public money directly.

“What we should investigate, while examining long-term solutions for Channel 4, is a privatisation which preserves its character.”

He also called for Radio 1 and Radio 2 to be privatised, and for ITV and Five to lose their public service broadcasting obligations after digital switchover.

Mr Bazalgette is advocating a new public service search engine, Boggle, which would feature arts and drama programming from organisations from the Tate to the National Theatre.

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