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Hat Trick, True North and IWC Media are among 44 out-of-London indies that have taken out a full-page advert in the Daily Telegraph to protest that small producers could be forced to close if Channel 4 is privatised.

Timed to reach MPs gathered for the Conservative Party Conference, where new culture secretary Nadine Dorries yesterday told a Telegraph podcast that privatisation is one of the “obvious” options for C4’s future, the advert states that the move is “the opposite of levelling up”.

It says privatising C4 “would cut jobs, reduce investment, and place companies at risk in the nations and regions”.

It features the names of indies from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Yorkshire. Among them is the NI arm of London-based Hat Trick, which produces Derry Girls, the C4 comedy identified by former culture minister John Whittingdale as an example of the “distinctively British” show public service broadcasters should be making.

The Northern Ireland contingent also includes Stellify, Green Inc and Waddell Media, while representing Scotland are the likes of IWC, Raise the Roof, Firecrest Films and Synchronicity Films. Welsh indies include Avanti Media and Little Bird Films, while Yorkshire companies lending their name include True North, Warp Films and Kay Mellor’s Rollem Productions.

Speaking to the Telegraph's podcast Chopper’s Politics from the festival yesterday, Dorries – who took over from Oliver Dowden last month – said: “C4 is in a good place at the moment, but if it wants to grow and be successful, then it needs to change. One of the one of the obvious ways of doing that is for C4 to be privatised.”

The indies warnings follow an Ampere Analysis study of 200 indies, which suggested that privatisation could put up to 60 small producers out of business.

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