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A-listers join forces to protect BBC from cuts

A host of A-list names from the world of showbiz have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to protect the BBC from cuts to its service.

Credit: PA Wire

James Bond actor Daniel Craig, his colleague in the long-running 007 franchise Dame Judi Dench, and veteran broadcaster David Attenborough have added their name to the letter.

They call on David Cameron to ensure the Government does not "turn it into a narrowly focused market-failure broadcaster".

A diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.

Like all organisations, it has its faults but it is overwhelmingly a creative force for good.

– Celebrities letter to the Prime Minister

They added the BBC was "the envy of the world".

Downing Street confirmed it had received the celebrities' letter.

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BBC journalists arrested on official visit to Qatar

A model of Al Rayyan Stadium, being built for the World Cup Credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

A BBC news crew has been arrested in Qatar while on an official visit to the country.

The crew were among other members of the press invited to tour new workers' accommodation, following ongoing international outcry at the poor conditions faced by the men building infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.

However, the crew found themselves arrested by Qatari security services, and jailed and aggressively interrogated for two days.

In an article for the BBC, Middle East business correspondent Mark Lobel spoke of "hostile" questioning.

He wrote: "Thirteen hours of waiting around and questioning later, one of the interrogators snapped. 'This is not Disneyland,' he barked. 'You can't stick your camera anywhere.'"

In a statement, the Qatari government said: "By trespassing on private property and running afoul of Qatari laws, the BBC reporter made himself the story. We sincerely hope that this was not his intention.

"Moreover, we deeply regret that he was unable to report the real story, which is that the government and the private sector are making significant progress in efforts to improve the lives and the labour conditions of guest workers in Qatar."

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