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David Tennant criticises plans to force "distinctively British" shows

·2 min read
Photo credit: JOSE HARO - Netflix
Photo credit: JOSE HARO - Netflix

David Tennant has criticised plans to require broadcasters to create British-specific shows.

Earlier this year, MP John Whittingdale announced during a speech to the Royal Television Society his proposal for public service broadcasters to produce "distinctively British content" in a speech on his last day as Minister for Media and Data.

Addressing this, Tennant, who is appearing in Around the World in 80 Days over Christmas, told RadioTimes: "Is there some inherent criticism within this plea for more Britishness? Did Britishness mean 'made in Britain' or programmes that have a certain political viewpoint?

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

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"Why would the government feel they need more sympathy directed towards them? Perhaps that's a question they should ask themselves, rather than trying to blame it on the television industry."

Examples of "distinctly British" shows given by Whittingdale at the time included Fleabag, Blackadder, Only Fools and Horses and Doctor Who. As pointed out by some, the speech failed to credit hit shows such as I May Destroy You and Small Axe, despite them being centred around life in Britain.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

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Currently, plans are going ahead to include this proposal in upcoming media laws to be drawn up in 2022.

Those affected would be public service broadcasters such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Even streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have been criticised for creating "generic" British media by Whittingdale.

Despite objections from actors such as Tennant, Whittingdale has insisted that though a "difficult concept to measure", they plan to "talk to Ofcom about how to make the obligation of Britishness work".

Around the World in 80 Days premieres this Boxing Day (Sunday, December 26) at 5.50pm on BBC One.

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