Luther and Marvel Universe actor Idris Elba is reportedly in talks over a £1bn pledge to buy Channel 4.
The A-list actor, DJ and music producer is “having discussions” with Marc Boyan, the founder and CEO of marketing and communications firm The Miroma Group, according to The Sunday Times.
News of Elba’s potential venture follows the government’s recent decision to privatise Channel 4 in an attempt to gain long-term funding as streaming giants—such as Amazon Prime and Netflix—continue to grow in popularity.
The decision has already faced huge criticism from British broadcasters, who have raised concerns over the potential removal of the channel’s legislative responsibilities, ability to nurture new talent and reflect cultural diversity and show alternative programming.
Discussing the importance of British television and his experience with Channel 5, Elba said in an interview with The Irish Times: “At the time, Channel 5 didn’t have lots of viewers. Few thousand, probably? But because they were a new channel, they were courageous, they put lots of new young actors on screen, and I hold the experience close to my heart. It was a time that exploded my confidence.”
Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, claimed that the decision to privatise Channel 4 had been made to “free” the channel “from the constraints of the the state” and described opposition to the move as “lazy, overwrought and ill-inform rhetoric from the Leftie luvvie lynch mob”.
Describing the move as “disappointing”, Channel 4 said in a statement: “With over 60,000 submissions to the Government’s public consultation, it is disappointing that today’s announcement has been made without formally recognising the significant public interest concerns which have been raised. Channel 4 has engaged in good faith with the Government throughout the consultation process, demonstrating how it can continue to commission much-loved programmes from the independent sector across the UK that represent and celebrate every aspect of British life as well as increase its contribution to society, while maintaining ownership by the public.”
Channel 4 has declined to comment and Elba’s representatives are yet to speak on the matter.