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Hugh Grant and Gary Lineker criticise plans to scrap BBC licence fee

They are among a host of stars who have thrown their support behind the BBC following the recent government announcement

By Hollie Geraghty

Hugh Grant on the Graham Norton show alongside Gary Lineker on Match of the Day
Hugh Grant and Gary Lineker have voiced their support for the BBC. (Photo credit: The Graham Norton Show/ Match of the Day).

Hugh Grant and Gary Lineker are among a number of high profile figures who have criticised the government’s plans to scrap the BBC licence fee.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced yesterday (January 16) that the government plans to freeze the BBC licence fee for the next two years, with plans to scrap it entirely by 2027.

Grant posted on Twitter to rally behind the broadcaster, writing: “The BBC is something the whole world admires with envy. It is entirely appropriate that the insecure, spittle-flecked nut jobs of this government want to destroy it.”

‘Match of the Day’ host Lineker shared a similar sentiment on social media.

“The BBC is revered, respected and envied around the world. It should be the most treasured of National treasures. Something true patriots of our country should be proud of. It should never be a voice for those in government whoever is in power,” he wrote.

Dorries said that the two-year freeze, which is expected to remain at £159 until 2024, “will be the last”. 

“The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over. Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content,” she added.

Dorries said that the UK will have to “discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling” television programming.

‘The Mash Report’ host Nish Kumar posted on Twitter that the government was “a pack of pissed up cultural vandals”.

“I know that it feels like absolutely everyone hates the BBC right now, and there are good reasons for that, but ending the licence fee is bad news,” he added.

‘The Thick of It’ creator Armando Iannucci also replied to Dorries’ statement. “If you really think your government can win back the public by tossing out a panicky weekend threat to the BBC, then you under-estimate the level of support, admiration and respect the public has for it,” he said.

‘Succession’ writer Lucy Prebble also voiced her support for the BBC, urging the public to “support the BBC even when it’s being attacked as a distraction from this dirty meringue of a government”.