Channel 4

Save Channel 4

Channel 4’s four decades as a publicly owned broadcaster could be about to come to an end, with the Government pushing ahead with controversial plans to privatise the Channel in a shake-up that could transform the landscape of British television.

WGGB believes that Channel 4’s unique public service broadcasting (PSB) remit has been vital to the success of the British television and film industry and privatising it would be detrimental to UK audiences, the economy and the sector as a whole.

Screenwriters, many of them WGGB members, have over the years authored shows such as Derry GirlsIt’s A SinNational Treasure, Adult MaterialWe Are Lady PartsAckley Bridge and Hollyoaks (to name but a few), made for UK audiences about the UK experience.

It is this uniqueness of Channel 4’s output that is under threat.

We will be campaigning against this privatisation in coming months, and here are some ways you can get involved.

  • Sign this petition
  • Please write to your MP using this template letter. You can find out who your MP is and get their contact details here
  • Join the campaign on social media using the hashtags #SaveChannel4, #C4privatisation, #SaveC4
  • We welcomed the announcement that the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee is to hold an inquiry into the future of the channel and we submitted a formal response. Thank you to all our members who submitted their own individual response and we’ll keep you posted on further developments.
  • We responded to a Government consultation and thanks to all our members who took part – we’ll keep you posted on this, too.
  • We have added our name to the Not 4 Sale campaign from Broadcast magazine. If you’d like to add your name to the Broadcast Not 4 Sale pledge, please email Jesse.Whittock@Broadcastnow.co.uk giving details of your name and job title (eg freelance writer). In addition, if you would like to say what the Channel means to you, Broadcast is looking to run a series of features too. The wording of the Broadcast Not 4 Sale pledge is below
  • Let us know how you have supported the campaign, including responses from your MPs, by email: lesley@writersguild.org.uk
  • We’ll be posting updates so bookmark this page to stay up-to-date

Points you can make in your communication with MPs, on social media etc 

  • The best, most sustainable model for Channel 4 is continued public ownership.
  • It currently ensures diverse, quality programming at no cost to the public purse and plays a central role in the financial success of the UK television and film industries, both at home and abroad, as well as the UK’s creative industries, worth over £111 billion to the economy each year.
  • The current model ensures that all surplus revenue (recently recorded at £74 million) is reinvested into UK television production. A change of ownership would result in money being taken out of the UK market and given to shareholders, potentially outside of the UK.
  • Channel 4’s continued presence in Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow is essential as it makes a vital contribution to levelling up the regions and nations of the UK. From apprenticeship schemes to opportunities for smaller production companies and local support services, Channel 4 supports thousands of jobs in the nations and regions that could be jeopardised by a change of ownership.
  • Channel 4 is already a respected global brand. In 2019, seven of the world’s best-selling unscripted formats were commissioned by Channel 4 and Film4 films have collectively won 37 Academy Awards and 84 BAFTAs.
  • The channel is well positioned for a digital future, achieving over one billion streaming views in 2020 and with a strong appeal to younger viewers.

The Broadcast Not 4 Sale Pledge

Channel 4’s publisher broadcaster model and unique PSB remit has been integral to the success of the British television industry. Privatising it would be detrimental to audiences and the sector and risks undermining the £1billion that C4 generates for the UK economy. 

Photo: Shutterstock.com/KevinCole