The SDLP criticized the UK government’s decision to privatize Channel 4, with Assembly candidate Foyle Sinéad McLaughlin saying the Derry Girls show “would not have been possible without Channel 4’s collaboration”.
Ms McLaughlin was speaking after the UK government announced plans to privatize the channel.
She said if Channel 4 had been a commercial channel the show might not have been given the green light, would have become a huge hit and the benefits for Derry and the wider North would have been lost.
SDLP Foyle contestant Ms McLaughlin said: “Derry Girls has brought joy and entertainment to people all over the world and its success would not have been possible without the partnership and support of Channel 4. A commercial station would have may have believed a show on our part of the world would struggle to find an audience, but Channel 4 supported Lisa McGee’s vision from the start and was rewarded with huge success.
“Derry Girls brought attention to our city, enhanced our tourism offering and found a whole new audience who are now interested in our rich history. It made local talent stars and showed the enormous contribution that this region can bring to the world It is deeply disappointing that the channel that gave Derry Girls its platform is changed forever.
“This is a short-sighted decision by the UK government given that Channel 4 costs the taxpayer nothing. It’s not just Derry Girls, over the decades the channel has made a huge contribution to life across these islands by investing in other Irish series like Father Ted and showcasing the diversity of our society through programs like It’s a Sin which focuses on our LGBT community and other programs that highlight communities BAME or people with disabilities.
“The decision to privatize Channel 4 reduces the chances of shows like Derry Girls and those highlighting other unique stories in the future and that’s a real shame. It looks like the current Conservative government won’t be happy as long that not all public institutions will be in private hands and it will be ordinary people who will suffer.”