- READ MORE: ‘After Life’ season two review: Ricky Gervais’ dark comedy is his most moving work to date
It comes after the government recently confirmed that it is considering selling off the channel, which is currently publicly owned but is funded by advertising.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recently claimed the threat of the changing media landscape, including streaming, had led to the review.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said it was the right time to “consider releasing Channel 4 from the constraints of public ownership”, according to a recent report by the BBC.
He added: “The media world has changed immeasurably since Channel 4’s creation in the early 1980s, but whilst we have more choice today the need for a strong and successful Channel 4 continues.”
For almost 40 years, Channel 4 has been a launch pad for new ideas and new talent. It’s been able to do that because of its remit and not-for-profit structure and it would be a real shame if that was destroyed by selling off the channel.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 19, 2021
Some programme makers, including It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies and The Thick Of It creator Armando Iannucci, have previously voiced opposition to the potential sale of Channel 4.
And now Ricky Gervais has waded into the row and called for the channel not to be sold off.
“For almost 40 years, Channel 4 has been a launch pad for new ideas and new talent,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s been able to do that because of its remit and not-for-profit structure and it would be a real shame if that was destroyed by selling off the channel.”
A 10 week consultation has been opened to the public which will ask for “views and supporting evidence” about the economic, social and cultural costs and benefits of releasing Channel 4 from public ownership.
These responses will inform the government’s ongoing review of all UK public service broadcasting services, with a white paper due in the autumn.
In an interview on the show’s 20th anniversary, Gervais said: “I mean now it would be cancelled.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to when they pick out one thing and try to cancel it. Someone said they might try to cancel it one day, and I say, ‘Good let them cancel it. I’ve been paid!'”
Over the course of its two series, The Office won two Golden Globes and six Baftas. It was was named the best TV show of the past 20 years at the Broadcast Awards in 2015.