Claims that Channel 4’s programming was made up only of “rare cultural gems” were contested as the Government was questioned about its plans to sell the publicly-owned broadcaster.
Conservative peer Lord Hannan of Kingsclere read out a list of Channel 4’s daytime programmes, including Kitchen Nightmares and Undercover Boss, as he hit back at claims that privatising the channel would diminish its output.
As peers asked the Government about its plans to sell Channel 4, Lord Hannan said:
“Ever since the announcement was made we have been hearing about all these rare cultural gems that are made possible by the unique way in which Channel 4 is financed, which somehow wouldn’t be possible in a red in tooth and claw jungle of capitalism.
“I have just been looking at what the programming is now. With your permission I will tell the House, it is: Kitchen Nightmares; Undercover Boss; Steph’s Packed Lunch; Countdown; a Place in the Sun; A New Life in the Sun; Sun, Sea and Selling Houses.”
The former MEP and Vote Leave founder added:
“Is it really credible to say that we are defending something that could not be provided by the private sector? Will the minister comment on the disparity between the funds that come from the private sector to independent production companies and those that come from state broadcasters?”
Culture minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay replied that he would not join Lord Hannan in “singling out particular programmes.”
“This is not about the content that Channel 4 currently produces or about its recent results.
“It is about making sure that it is able in the decades to come to compete, to invest and to continue to provide a range of programming which a range of people can benefit from.”
Liberal Democrat Lord Addington then asked:
“Would the minister give us a little thought following on from last the question we have just had about which other body could have actually done the work which has been done for the Paralympics and disability rights generally?
“And once you have dealt with that, possibly you could tell us how that will be put in some sort of bidding contract.”
Lord Parkinson replied:
“Channel 4 did a fantastic job at broadcasting the Paralympics and indeed to bring the entire country together to cheer on Emma Raducanu in the US Open final. We want it to keep doing that fantastic job in the years to come.
“That is why we want to set it on the right path so that it is a sustainable and successful organisation.”