“DISTINCTIVELY British” TV shows will be legally mandated under new rules being drawn up by Conservative ministers, it has emerged.

Speaking to a Royal Television Society conference, media minister John Whittingdale said Ofcom will be asked to draw up a definition of “distinctively British” in order for public service broadcasters to meet their obligations.

“In our upcoming White Paper, I intend to include proposals that will expand the remit of public service broadcasters, so that it includes a requirement for them to produce ‘distinctively British’ content,” he told the conference.

The National:

He dismissed the idea that Britishness is Union flags and pictures of the Queen, insisting it’s more about shows “that could have only been made in the United Kingdom”.

Giving examples of shows that would meet the “distinctively British” obligation, Whittingdale suggested Fleabag, Downton Abbey, Dr Who, Great British Bake Off, Only Fools and Horses and Derry Girls.

In his speech, the minister also cited 1970s Carry On films as an example of “Britishness”.

“Britishness is, of course, a nebulous concept,” he told listeners. “It means different things to each and every one of us in this room. And yet we all know it when we see it on our screens.

“The sort of things we’ve all grown up with … Only Fools and Horses, Dad’s Army, Carry On. More recently, The Great British Bake Off and Line of Duty. And of course Coronation Street and Eastenders.”

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Concluding his speech, Whittingdale said film and TV production in the UK is “booming” and providing hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“Our economy relies on our creative industries,” he said. “No less than our national identity relies upon it.

“We will do everything we can to protect it in the years ahead.”

Former culture secretary Oliver Dowden had been due to deliver the speech – however yesterday saw a sudden Cabinet reshuffle, in which Nadine Dorries took his position.