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Sky out of bounds to Dr Who and Co says actors' union (1990)

1990-11-11 Sunday Times.jpg

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EQUITY, the actors' union, is threatening legal action to stop classic series such as Dad's Army. and Doctor Who from being screened on satellite television. The move is part of a rearguard action by broadcasting unions to hinder the merger between Sky and British, Satellite Broadcasting (BSB).

Equity claims that previous agreements with both the BBC and BSB to allow the showing of archive material will be broken if the programmes are added to the schedules of the new British Sky Broadcasting channels.

The union, which negotiates repeat fees for its members, is demanding a guarantee that the merged company will spend as much on making new programmes as it does on buying old series.

BSB has paid £3.5m for the rights to 1,000 hours of BBC programmes. Equity argues that if these are now broadcast to Europe from Sky's Astra satellite, it will jeopardise BBC sales abroad.

Ian McGarry, Equity's assistant general secretary, warned last night that the union would sue BSB if any of the shows were broadcast on the Luxembourg-based Astra satellite, which is to become the sole transmission, system for the merged company.

McGarry said: "If we've got anything to do with it BBC programmes won't appear on Sky Television unless we are given guarantees that demonstrate that they are serious about making British programmes with British actors. I think that is unlikely to happen. We are not making a political point but we want to protect our members' jobs."

Equity has asked the BBC to stop supplying programmes to the new company, owned 50% by Rupert Murdoch, whose News International publishes The Sunday Times. The union wants the BBC to freeze the contract, although the deal with BSB has another 18 months to run.

A BBC spokesman confirmed that contracts would have to be renegotiated if the new company wanted to screen any of the programmes which BSB had bought on the Astra satellite. They include Porridge, Grange Hill, Shoe string and Till Death Us Do Part.

Roy Hattersley, Labour's deputy leader, said yesterday: "We have given a guarantee that once elected, a Labour government will immediately ask the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to instigate an inquiry into Murdoch's cross-media ownership." Barry Sheerman, Labour's home affairs spokesman, said: "We believe what has happened is scandalous. We would =elcome and endorse any action which would help save BSB,"

The merger has brought fears of up to 700 job losses, mostly at BSB. A joint meeting of both Sky and BSB employees is being called this week by. ACTT and Beta, the television unions which are themselves merging into one media organisation.

Vincent Feiner, national officer of Beta, said: "There are serious worries about this amalgamation. The real question is not. only the security of employment but the implications of the, new Broadcasting Act which should prevent owners of British newspapers from being able, to hold more than a 20% stake in British television companies.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Chittenden, Steve Clarke and Maurice (1990-11-11). Sky out of bounds to Dr Who and Co says actors' union. The Sunday Times p. sec. 1, p. 9.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Chittenden, Steve Clarke and Maurice. "Sky out of bounds to Dr Who and Co says actors' union." The Sunday Times [add city] 1990-11-11, sec. 1, p. 9. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Chittenden, Steve Clarke and Maurice. "Sky out of bounds to Dr Who and Co says actors' union." The Sunday Times, edition, sec., 1990-11-11
  • Turabian: Chittenden, Steve Clarke and Maurice. "Sky out of bounds to Dr Who and Co says actors' union." The Sunday Times, 1990-11-11, section, sec. 1, p. 9 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Sky out of bounds to Dr Who and Co says actors' union | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Sky_out_of_bounds_to_Dr_Who_and_Co_says_actors%27_union | work=The Sunday Times | pages=sec. 1, p. 9 | date=1990-11-11 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=18 November 2017 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Sky out of bounds to Dr Who and Co says actors' union | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Sky_out_of_bounds_to_Dr_Who_and_Co_says_actors%27_union | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=18 November 2017}}</ref>