THE SNP have written to newly appointed Culture Minister Nadine Dorries after her predecessor said the BBC should make more “distinctively British” programmes.

John Nicolson, the party’s media spokesman, has written to Dorries after John Whittingdale was sacked last week from the Government by Boris Johnson.

Nicolson pointed out that some people in Scotland “may not feel British” while some in Northern Ireland do not feel British. Just before his departure from his role, Whittingdale said Ofcom will be asked to draw up a definition of “distinctively British” in order for public service broadcasters to meet their obligations.

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“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 Royal Television Society conference.

Giving examples of shows that would meet the “distinctively British” obligation, Whittingdale suggested Fleabag, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Great British Bake Off, Only Fools and Horses and Derry Girls. He also cited 1970s Carry On films as an example of “Britishness”.

Nicolson told The National while he supported the idea of increasing the quantity of high-quality, home-produced content commissioned by the BBC, it was inappropriate for politicians to be telling broadcasters what to produce.

“The — now-former — UK Culture Minister John Whittingdale’s tone was entirely inappropriate with its flag waving and jingoism. And the irony is that, whilst trumpeting the need for more homemade content, the UK Government is planning to sell off one of our best and most diverse public service broadcasters, Channel 4,” he said.

Nicolson asked Dorries whether she agreed with her predecessor’s views. “It is surely not the job of programme producers to impart Britishness in a forced and artificial way? They may feel themselves to be British, but trumpeting national identity whether relevant or not seems clunky and awkward,” he wrote.

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“Do you agree with me that politicians have no place telling broadcasters what to produce and that to require certain content through legal compulsion is entirely inappropriate and will have a dampening effect on creativity?

“You will, of course, be aware that while many people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do feel British, a sizeable minority in Northern Ireland do not and a majority in Scotland may not.

“Therefore, a more sensitive approach to these issues from your office would be welcomed, not least by programme producers and broadcasters.”