Dr. Who will be canceled — along with numerous other popular British shows — if British politician Nigel Farage gets his way, at least according to what the 51-year old leader of Britain’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) appeared to say in an interview Sunday morning.
It wouldn’t only be Dr. Who — which has been produced by the BBC since 1963 and has become one of the most influential science fiction shows in the genre’s history as well as a prized example of British popular culture — to face the axe if Farage gets his way.
In fact, Farage said, the government-run BBC should not produce entertainment programming at all.
Rival politician Nick Clegg, of Britain’s Liberal Democrat Party, immediately branded Farage’s call to kill Dr. Who “terrible,” and faced with a massive backlash, Farage quickly issued a statement attempting to walk back his statement about Dr. Who, saying instead that he wants to cancel the BBC news broadcast Newsnight, which he accuses of liberal bias.
Farage has earlier announced that he has “declared war” on the BBC, which he claims has not provided fair coverage of his far-right UKIP.
In the Sunday morning interview, Farage — known for his outrageous statements, such as once claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “on our side” — slammed the BBC as “too big” and possessing “far too much influence,” and pledged to take a carving knife to the broadcaster’s budget if UKIP wins this week’s elections.
Interviewer Andrew Marr then asked Farage if he was proposing a platform of “vote UKIP and exterminate the doctor,” meaning Dr. Who.
“We now have lots of commercial channels out there, the BBC does not need to do all of these things,” Farage replied. “I think the BBC as a public service broadcaster has a role. I think the BBC as a global brand for this country is very very important. But I think the BBC is far too big and far too much influential. I don’t think it needs to do entertainment.”
But despite his seeming disregard for popular opinion on many issues, Farage issued a statement showing that at least on this issue, he isn’t willing to go out on a limb.
“When it comes to entertainment, the BBC should be proud of its ‘crown jewels’ such as Strictly Come Dancing and dramas such as Dr Who,” Nigel Farage said in the clarifying statement. “They have become valuable global brands as well as programs hugely appreciated by British audience. Should the BBC feel it has to come up with its own version of every commercial TV genre, from dating formats to home makeover shows? I don’t think so.”
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