Entertainment

Lord Sugar warns of ‘real risk’ if privatisation of Channel 4 goes ahead

Lord Sugar doesn’t want Channel 4 to be privatised (Picture: ITV/Rex)

Lord Alan Sugar has voiced his opposition to the potential privatisation of Channel 4.

The Apprentice star claimed selling off the publicly owned broadcaster would be ‘a bad thing for the audiences and the sector in general’.

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

A consultation looking at the economic, social and cultural costs and benefits of releasing it from public ownership is currently under way, with potential investors are likely to include big American companies.

The 74-year-old Amstrad founder, originally from Hackney, east London, shared his stance with his 5.2 million followers on Twitter, writing: ‘I am not in favour of the privatisation of C4.

‘I believe it would be a bad thing for the audiences and the sector in general.

‘C4 generates £1 billion to the UK economy, and privatisation would put this at real risk.’

Lord Sugar’s hugely popular reality show The Apprentice airs on BBC One in the UK, with BBC the national broadcaster, established under a Royal Charter and funded mainly by the country’s annual television licence fee for is citizens.

The show was based on the American original, which is broadcast on NBC in the US and originally starred Donald Trump in Lord Sugar’s business mentor role.

The business mogul also appears on spin-off The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, where he replaced former CEO Mark Bouris, founder and chairman of Wizard Home Loans and Yellow Brick Road, on the Nine Network show in September 2020.

Lord Sugar has become a TV star as well as a business mogul through The Apprentice (Picture: BBC/Boundless Taylor Herring)

It returned to air after a six-year break in May 2021, and was won by interior designer and presenter Shaynna Blaze, with British comedian Ross Noble as runner-up.

Figures including actor Rob Delaney, It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies and The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci have also voiced opposition to the potential sale of Channel 4.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has said the decision to review its ownership structure was taken because the changing media landscape poses a serious threat to traditional linear broadcasters.

The consultation comes ahead of a Government White Paper on the future of broadcasting which is due in the autumn.

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