Derry Girls' Nicola Coughlan Gives The Government's Plan To Privatise Channel 4 The Middle Finger

The Bridgerton actor sent a clear message to ministers.
Nicola Coughlan
Nicola Coughlan
Dave J Hogan via Getty Images

Nicola Coughlan has sent a clear message to the government over its plans to privatise Channel 4.

The Derry Girls actor, who has just returned to screens as Clare Devlin in the third and final series of the hit sitcom, gave ministers the middle finger in a social media post.

Last week, culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced plans to sell off Channel 4, which has been publicly owned and funded by advertising since it was founded in 1982, in a move that has been called an “act of cultural vandalism” by critics.

Nicola called for her followers to sign a petition aiming to stop the sale as she posted on Instagram following Derry Girls’ return on Tuesday night.

“Thank you for all the love for #DerryGirls and F**k trying to privatise @channel4
Sign the petition in my bio,” she wrote.

Nicola’s co-star Saoirse-Monica Jackson, who plays Erin Quinn, has also said shows like Derry Girls “would never get made” if Channel 4 were to be privatised.

“To be honest I think it’s absolutely terrible,” she told Radio 1 Newsbeat. “I’d be really worried about undiscovered talent and the lack of that ever being brought to our forefront and being pushed.

“I think you need the opportunity to grow and writers need the opportunity to have comedies come out on Channel 4 and be nourished.”

As well as winning huge critical acclaim, Derry Girls has pulled in massive viewing figures, with the first series becoming Channel 4′s biggest comedy launch since 2004 and the most-watched TV series in North Ireland since modern records began in 2002.

Derry Girls has returned for its third and final series on Channel 4
Derry Girls has returned for its third and final series on Channel 4
Channel 4

Nicola and Saoirse-Monica are the latest Channel 4 stars to speak out against the network’s planned sale.

Naked Attraction host Anna Richardson also made it clear Dorries is not welcome on her show in a scathing attack on the culture secretary.

In an interview on Times Radio, Anna was asked by host Luke Jones if Dorries would change her view on Channel 4′s privatisation if she appeared on Naked Attraction, Anna replied: “Well we would never have her.

“I just think that, even though Naked Attraction is about the beauty of the body, I think ultimately it comes down to personality, doesn’t it? And I think that Nadine has shown her true colours in all ways. And so for that reason, she’s out of Naked Attraction.

“I don’t think that we could reveal any part of that woman that is in any way enlightening or attractive, I’m afraid, so she’s off the panel.”

Dorries has claimed Channel 4 cannot be preserved in its current state because of “decreasing advertising revenue and decreasing investment in new content”.

Plans for the sale will reportedly be set out in a White Paper later this month and will be included in a new Media Bill for next spring.

A string of Tory MPs and peers, including Sir Peter Bottomley, former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee Julian Knight, and former cabinet ministers Damian Green and Jeremy Hunt have all publicly questioned the plans.


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