John McVay is the chief executive of Pact – the trade body for Britain’s TV and film producers. He said any move to strip UK-made content of its “European” designation would prove “counterproductive” for the continent’s economy and its cultural status.
Membership of the EU is not a requirement for “European” designation so it should have been unaffected by Brexit.
But a leaked document this week revealed a Brussels plot to remove the UK’s status – despite the vast popularity of British TV shows across the continent.
Mr Mcvay told the Telegraph: “This seems to be a very short-sighted protectionist move by probably the French producers and others to seek to somehow exclude British programming from their market.
“If there’s something which makes it more difficult for one of my members to co-produce with someone in France, then we’ll still find someone to make it with.
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If passed, the regulations would remove the UK from the list – putting it in the same category as American shows which are given far less airtime overall.
The “counterproductive” plan comes despite the UK being a world leader in TV and film production.
Last year £2.8 billion was spent in the country making high-end shows and movies – of which £2.36bn came from overseas companies.
And far from damaging the UK’s industry – Mr McVay said that producers and viewers on the continent were far more likely to suffer.
He said: “You’ve got to bear in mind that Midsomer Murders is one of the most popular dramas on German television.
“And if you’re a major commercial German broadcaster and you’ve got a choice between a fantastic show like Line of Duty, which is getting great audiences for you, or buying something not so good from France, are you really going to cut your nose off to spite your face?”
Leading Brexiteer and broadcaster Nigel Farage also slammed the news.
He told Express.co.uk: “This sums up the small-minded, protectionist club the European Union is.
“They now even want to censor content their citizens can view – thank god we’ve left!”
Swedish MEP Charlie Weimers added: “What viewers will choose French ‘humour’ over British classics such as Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder and Yes, Minister?
“The EU can force the companies to list the films, but not force the consumers to watch.”
Under a cross-border treaty content produced in the UK is currently considered as “European works” meaning it can be sold on the Continent.