"People get upset when the thing they believe in gets cut," he says. "The arts had a good run, really, under the Labour government. What's weird is, I don't remember anyone in the arts saying that."It seems the abolition of the Film Council is causing great angst amongst the luvvie community:
Last July, producers greeted the Coalition's decision to abolish the latter with fury. In October, Tim Bevan, the Film Council's last chairman, told a cross-party committee of MPs: "I'm out of here. If this is the public sector and the way you get treated, I'm done."
Dyke says: "The story got around, spread partly by people at the Film Council, that this was the end of government support for film. "Oh noes! A disaster!
And yet, not. At least, not for them:
In fact, he insists, over the next financial year the BFI would invest £18m directly into film production, an increase of £3m from last year. This will rise to £21m after the 2012 Olympics.That’s still too much, if you ask me…
"I can understand why Tim had his nose put out of joint," he continues.
"He had just taken over, though of course he was appointed by a different government. People are always going to say: 'Couldn't this have been done in a more sophisticated way?' But sometimes things only happen if you announce them and get it done."There are always winners and losers. It seems Dyke regards himself as a winner.
Dyke complains that, under Labour, the BFI's funding failed to increase each year, unlike the Film Council's, which caused friction between the two organisations. "I thought the BFI spent too much of its time being annoyed with the Film Council," he says.Not that Dyke himself is averse to a little inter-profession squabbling and casting judgement, you understand:
The day after our interview, News International issued its official apology to phone hacking victims, and Dyke has strong views on the subject. "I don't think the News of the World is a great contribution to British journalism," he says. "They had obviously being playing fast and loose for a long time and are now getting their just desserts."And it’s not just the newspapers that he views with a certain schadenfreude, either.
Rival TV networks come in for a gleeful kicking:
Dyke, who famously branded the BBC "hideously white" in 2001, also has views on the Midsomer Murders' creator Brian True-May, who recently said he did not use black or Asian people in the series because they didn't reflect an English village. This, Dyke says, was "a dumb thing to say".Whereas the term ‘hideously white’ was a perfectly reasonable thing to say, I suppose?
"There are bits of Britain which are still very white but most of it isn't," he says.
"What always concerned me at the BBC is I didn't want people to be employed because they were Asian or West Indian. I just wanted people from different backgrounds and different cultures because they had different ideas. I still believe that."And what difference has the employment of such ‘different cultures’ made to the Beeb’s output, Greg?
As far as I can see….absolutely nothing!