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Baftas 2022: Russell T Davies slams privatization of Channel 4

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Russell T Davies was not shy in sharing his opinions on the government’s proposed privatization of Channel 4 on this year’s Bafta red carept.

The screenwriter walked the red carpet with Sex Education favorite Ncuti Gatwa, who was announced today as the 14th Doctor in the BBC series.

Ncuti, 29, will take over from Jodie Whittaker when she bows out from Doctor Who this autumn, and Russell can’t wait for him to get started.

But for now, Russell – real name Stephen Russell Davies – is still celebrating It’s A Sin, which aired last year.

The series stars Olly Alexander and tells the story of a group of friends living in London during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, and has been widely praised for its LGBTQ+ storytelling, so much so that it was nominated for not one, not two , but six Baftas tonight.

When quizzed by BBC News on the carpet this afternoon, show-runner Russell hit out at the Conservative government for wanting to ‘sell’ Channel 4, following the success of shows like It’s A Sin.

Russell made his views clear (Picture: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock for Bafta)

‘Did you expect the program to have this kind of an impact, hundreds of thousands of pounds raised for HIV/AIDS charities, not just an entertainment program but something that has changed people’s social thinking?’, the interviewer began.

‘Completely surprised, completely thrilled, and it’s so nice to see that cast being recognized tonight,’ Russell responded.

He continued: ‘Of course, it was made on a channel that the government’s gonna sell off, while they’re also planning to get rid of the BBC license fee.

‘So, if you like shows like this, go and vote differently that’s what I say.’

Russell then looked at someone off camera and shrugged with a smug expression on his face.

Fans on Twitter were quick to share the clip and praise the writer for his bold comments, saying Russell ‘said what he needed to say.’

russell t davies, ncuti gatwa

The screenwriter cuddled up to 14th Doctor Ncuti Gatwa (Picture: Getty)

‘Say it louder for the people in the back,’ one shared.

‘Russell T Davies will never pass up a chance to be like “hey f*** the Tories” and its one of the many reasons I think he’s so great,’ tweeted another.

The government announced plans to sell off Channel 4 earlier this year, with the network currently owned by the public but funded by advertising, which has been the case since it launched in 1982.

Channel 4 has since handed in its proposals for an alternative to privatization to the government, stating its desire to move more jobs out of London and strengthen its support for the creative sector.

As for the BBC license fee Russell also mentioned, this currently costs £159 and is required by any household consuming BBC television channels, radio and online programs and services including iPlayer, Radio 1, CBeebies and the World Service.

It's a Sin cast members Olly Alexander and Lydia West

It’s A Sin stars Olly and Lydia were previously in the running for the next Doctor role (Picture: Ross Ferguson)

It was made public in January that the fee will be abolished in the year 2027, with funding frozen.

RTD isn’t the only celebrity calling out the potential privatization of Channel 4 at the Baftas tonight.

Comedian Aisling Bea also said it is ‘really important’ to fight the ‘really scary’ plans.

The Bafta-nominated actress said: ‘When you see people trying to turn a public body that breaks stories like the Windrush scandal and you see people trying to take that over, it is really scary. It is the kind of thing that can slide away if you don’t stand bigger beside it.

channel 4 logo

Countless people are outraged by plans to sell off Channel 4 (Picture: PA)

‘It is a really important thing to fight. It seems small, like it doesn’t affect everyone, but it truly affects everyone’s life, particularly from news and the journalism side of things.’

Actor, writer and director Clint Dyer also said the prospect was ‘quite appalling’, adding that ‘there is no good news about it.’

‘It’s not a happy story. It is actually quite appalling. I just hope they turn it around and they can keep hold of Channel 4 as a part of our property,’ he said.

Elsewhere, as the Baftas 2022 get underway, Russell is preparing for a big night, with noms for his show in categories like leading actor, leading actress and mini-series.

The internet was sent into meltdown today when the BBC confirmed Ncuti would be joining the Doctor Who family later this year, after previous It’s A Sin cast members were in the running, such as Lydia West and Omari Douglas.

Jodie has one final special left, after which Ncuti will take the helm, saying he wants to make the role his ‘own.’

The 2022 Baftas airs on BBC One tonight at 6pm.


Bafta TV Awards 2022 winners

Entertainment Award: Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Leading Female Performance: jodie eat

Leading Male Performance: Sean Bean

Supporting Actress: Kathy TysonHelp

Supporting Actor: Matthew MacFadyen

Reality and Constructed Factual: goggle box

Female performance in comedy programme: sophie willan

Male Comedy Performance: Jamie Demetrius

News Coverage: ITV News at 10, Storming of The Capitol

Factual Specialist: The Missing Children

Daytime: TheChase

Sports programme: The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Single Documentary: My Child My Country

Current Affairs: Fearless: The Women Fighting Putin

SingleDrama: together

Short-form programme: Our Land

Live Events: The Earthshot Prize 2021

Features: Big Zuu’s Big Eats

Scripted Comedy: Motherland

Mini Series: Time

Factual Series: uprising

Continuing Drama or Soap: Coronation Street

Entertainment Performance: Big Zuu

Must See moment: Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice’s silent dance

Comedy entertainment programme: The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan

DramaSeries: In My Skin

MORE : ‘My Doctor’: Doctor Who and Sex Education stars lead reactions to Ncuti Gatwa’s casting as new Time Lord

MORE : When could Ncuti Gatwa become Doctor Who?

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