Jonathan Dimbleby urges public to rise up in support of embattled BBC

Dimbleby’s sentiments were echoed this weekend by Frank Cottrell Boyce, the writer behind the most popular recent display of British cultural values, the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London. “The UK enjoys a level of influence and soft power well beyond its economic or military weight. This is due almost entirely to the BBC,” Boyce told the Observer. “It speaks for the nation, in a way that HBO or Warner Brothers could never dream of speaking for America. And when the BBC speaks, what does it say? It says Doctor Who, Top Gear, In Our Time, Today, Strictly, Poldark, Cash in the Attic, Horizon, David Attenborough, Graham Norton … which translates as: here is a nation that is at ease with itself – innovative, creative, fun, serious, able to question itself and celebrate itself, diverse, eccentric and beautiful.” Cottrell Boyce also argued that the “range of tones and ideas” embodied by the BBC formed a sense of national identity and provided the varied voice that politicians often claim Britain needs to defeat extreme ideologies and terrorism. “We are always hearing we need a ‘counter-narrative’ to the threats that surround us,” he writes. “Where would that narrative come from, how would it be projected, if not by us as a nation, through our mouthpiece, the BBC?”

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