Junior minister parachuted in to deliver Oliver Dowden speech after reshuffle


liver Dowden’s planned speech to a Royal Television Society event has been delivered by a junior minister after he was replaced as Culture Secretary.

On Wednesday Mr Dowden was removed from his job with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport about an hour before he was due on stage at the society’s Cambridge Convention.

Media minister John Whittingdale stepped in at the last minute to appear at the event via videolink in order to read the speech Mr Dowden had been intending to give.

John Whittingdale (Dominic Lipinski/PA) / PA Wire

During his address, he outlined new plans to protect “distinctively British” public service broadcasting.

“Global investment is extremely welcome – but I want to make sure it doesn’t water down British creativity or the British brand,” he said.

“Public service broadcasters have a unique role and I want them to continue producing shows that allow people in every corner of the UK to see their lives reflected on screen, and that showcase the things we are most proud of to the rest of the world.

“To make programmes that are iconic, not generic.

“So, in our upcoming white paper, I intend to include proposals that will expand the remit of public service broadcasters, so that it includes a requirement for them to produce distinctively British content.

“If it’s set in Britain and made in Britain by our public service broadcasters, then it should be distinctively British.”

Mr Whittingdale also warned that “standing still is not an option” for Channel 4 following a Government consultation into the privatisation of the broadcaster.

At present, the channel, which was founded in 1982, is owned by the Government and receives its funding from advertising.

In his speech, Mr Whittingdale said Channel 4 is “one of this country’s greatest assets”.

“One clear way of making sure our British broadcasters thrive is putting them in the right financial position to compete and succeed for decades to come – no matter what the future of broadcasting holds,” he added.

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