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Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon has opened up on the volatility the broadcaster has faced since the government first raised the prospect of privatisation, with a decision potentially “up in the air” under the new culture secretary.

Speaking at the RTS London Convention, Mahon said C4 has had to show “a large degree of comfort with ambiguity” since the proposal was first raised.

She acknowledged that C4’s relationship with the government has not been helped by the “rotation” of seven culture secretaries since she joined in 2017.

C4 and the DCMS remain in talks, but with new culture secretary Michelle Donelan promising to re-examine the business case for privatisation, Mahon said: “Lots of things that were on the legislative agenda are now up in the air.”

Elsewhere in the session, Mahon acknowledged the challenge that broadcasters have faced in landing a major new format since the likes of Gogglebox and The Great British Bake Off, which started on BBC2 before moving to C4.

“Getting big formats is really hard and you have to keep trying and nurturing those shows for longer,” Mahon said. “Keeping them alive is hard work.”

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