BBC Four presenters are campaigning to save the channel amid rumours that the UK's national broadcaster is looking to close it down in order to cut costs.
According to The Daily Telegraph, executives have privately conceded that this year will be the last to feature BBC Four as a broadcast channel.
Noted for its superb music documentaries, a multitude of art and historical series, and a variety of imported drama such as Italy's Inspector Montalbano and Icelandic thriller Trapped, the channel offers niche viewing for a mature audience, and an alternative to reality shows, soap operas and talent contests.
Some of its budget is reported to be reassigned to BBC Three - now only available online - which is currently the focus of the BBC's efforts to attract 16-34-year-olds.
Lucy Worsley, a regular show host and historian whose most recent project for the channel is the documentary Lucy Worsley's Royal Photo Album, posted a tweet in support of the channel yesterday.
NEW SHOW on @BBCFour tonight - and long may those who love @BBCFour continue to read those words! This time, it's a study of the thing that's turned out to be the monarchy's superpower over the last two centuries: photography. https://t.co/iBnr6cEXXY— Lucy Worsley (@Lucy_Worsley) May 13, 2020
"New show on BBC Four," she wrote. "And long may those who love BBC Four continue to read these words."
Another regular presenter, Oxford professor Janina Ramirez, has initiated a twitter campaign to raise awareness for the channel and those who watch it, called Love BBC Four.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC has a £125 million hole to fill, and various productions - including Line of Duty and Peaky Blinders - have had to shut down, although they are now starting to return to filming.
Officially, the BBC has denied the channel will be closed, but BBC Four’s Controller, Cassian Harrison, announced earlier this month that he would be leaving his role.
BBC Two’s Controller, Patrick Holland is currently covering Harrison’s former role.