BBC critics 'have British disease'
Scientist-turned-broadcaster Professor Brian Cox has hit out at opponents of the BBC, accusing them of having "the British disease".
Cox defended the corporation during a question and answer session at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.
Two years ago James Murdoch made the keynote MacTaggart lecture at the festival, describing the BBC's size and ambitions as "chilling" and accusing it of mounting a "land grab" in a beleaguered media market.
Speaking today, in what was billed as an alternative MacTaggart lecture, Cox said: "One of the things that surprises me about the debate about the BBC, it's one of the things I wanted to say actually, here is an institution that is clearly a big global brand, a powerful global brand, recognised as the best in the world in many areas and what the British disease is is to even consider damaging that institution."
Cox, who was famously keyboard player in pop group D:Ream before entering academia, said the massive success of his science shows had brought him a level of public recognition.
He said: "That is what my life is now - explaining thermodynamics to people in pubs, not drinking, which is what it used to be."