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Wolf Hall 'would never have been made' without BBC

Published 22/06/2016

Series like Wolf Hall would not be made without the BBC, according to Sir Colin Callender
Series like Wolf Hall would not be made without the BBC, according to Sir Colin Callender

Award-winning drama series such as Wolf Hall would never reach television screens if it was not for the BBC's dedication to original programming, the show's producer has said.

Sir Colin Callender said the much-loved serial, an adaptation of the Hilary Mantel novel, could count the Princess Royal among its fans, when the pair met at Buckingham Palace where Sir Colin received a knighthood for services to the British creative industries.

Sir Colin, who is also co-producing the Harry Potter And The Cursed Child theatre show which is due to open next month, said: "We talked about Wolf Hall and Harry Potter, the play that's coming up shortly. She's a fan of both."

The television, film and theatre producer made headlines during an acceptance speech for Wolf Hall at the Golden Globes in January when he launched an impassioned defence of the BBC against fears over its future.

Speaking after the investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, he said: "The BBC is an extraordinary and unique institution, and you feel that particularly when you live overseas, when you live in America which is where I live, when you look at England you realise how unique the BBC is.

"Something like Wolf Hall would never have been made by anybody else. So it is central to our cultural landscape and I'm delighted that the Government has made an effort to protect it."

Last month, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale unveiled plans for a new Royal Charter, ordering the BBC to ensure it continued to provide "distinctive content" rather than simply chase ratings.

The measures set out in the Government White Paper included preserving the licence fee, introducing it for people who watch television online via the BBC iPlayer, and publishing the names of its highest-earning stars and executives.

The new charter, which comes into effect at the end of this year, will last for 11 years, to remove it from the cycle of political elections, but there will be a "health check" on its operation halfway through the period.

Speaking following the announcement last month, former director-general Greg Dyke suggested Mr Whittingdale had been "put back in his box" and the BBC's commercial rivals had "lost".

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