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Radio 4 fan Jeremy Irons warns against BBC cuts

Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons has said it would be a "huge shame" if the BBC was scaled back.

The star, a fan of Radio 4, described the World Service as "one of the greatest gifts we have".

The Government is conducting a review of the BBC's charter, which is due to expire in 2016. Culture, Media and Sport Secretary John Whittingdale has already warned of cuts at the BBC, saying that the organisation should make "the same efficiency savings as we're asking every public body to do".

But Brideshead Revisited star Irons said people were "lucky" to have what the corporation offered and hoped the broadcaster would not be scaled back.

He told the Press Association: "I believe that the BBC is in the process of reorganisation and that probably should continue, but I think cutting back would be a huge shame.

"I mean, I live off Radio 4. I think it's wonderful and as I listen to it, I think we are so lucky to have a station like Radio 4, which happens to suit me. I learn so much. I'm so amused by it. It's fantastic.

"No other country I know of in the world has that sort of radio. So I think we have to be very careful.

"We all have to cut back at the moment because things are tough, but we mustn't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Irons, speaking at the Roundhouse in London at a charity gala in aid of the SeriousFun Children's Network, added: "I think certainly the World Service is one of the greatest gifts we have."

Mr Whittingdale sparked fears the corporation would be scaled back when he said the review would look at whether the BBC should continue to be "all things to all people" or have a more "precisely targeted" mission.

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