Russell T Davies slams ‘corrupt’ government over BBC Gary Lineker row: ‘They’re loving this’

Russell T Davies wades into BBC Gary Lineker row.

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has waded into the row over the BBC’s treatment of Gary Lineker, saying it’s the government who should be under fire.

The BBC has been in crisis over the weekend after its suspension of Match of the Day host Gary Lineker led to virtually every sports presenter on its books standing down in solidarity.

The broadcaster said Lineker breached its impartiality guidelines by criticising the UK government’s new bill to criminalise refugees arriving on small boats, saying the language it used was similar to “Germany in the 30s” and calling it “immeasurably cruel”.

Amid calls for BBC chair Richard Sharp and director general Tim Sharp to stand down over the row, Davies suggested the focus should be on the government.

“Don’t attack the BBC, attack the corrupt government which is loving this,” he wrote on Instagram Saturday (11 March).

Davies re-shared a clip from his Sky Arts Awards acceptance speech in July 2022, in which he gave a scathing criticism of the Conservatives and their voters.

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“I know I’m speaking to the converted, but there’s money in this room. And if there’s money in the room, that means there’s Tory voters in the room,” he said.

As the crowd applauded, Davies added: “You are here, and you’re certainly watching at home, so please know that you are voting for murderers, b*****ds, abusers and liars.”

Several celebrities flocked to the comments to echo Davies’ words, including former Doctor Who star Billie Piper who wrote: “Oh my god I love you so much.”

The Sandman‘s Neil Gaiman agreed, saying: “Bless you”.

Trans author and Doctor Who writer Juno Dawson wrote: “TELL THEM”, while British actor Christine Adams said: “Shout it out Russell. Yessssss. My my, so proud to know you.”

It was announced on Monday (13 March) that Gary Lineker would return to Match of the Day and that an independent expert would review the BBC’s social media guidelines.

Lineker’s removal prompted BBC Sports presenters and commentators to step back from shows. Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Alex Scott all refused to host their regular shows, and as a result the BBC’s sports output was heavily reduced.

An Alternative Match of the Day aired on GBNews that included no actual football, but an offensive use of casual homophobia.

Meanwhile, the government’s small boats bill will receive its second reading in parliament on on Monday evening despite intense backlash to the plans, which could break international human rights law.

In his statement announcing his return to screens, Lineker doubled down on his support of refugees saying: “However difficult the last few days have been: it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away.”

Lineker and Scott both took a pro-LGBTQ+ stance during the men’s World Cup. The tournament was held in Qatar, a country with historic human rights abuses and anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

Lineker spoke out against the foreign secretary’s suggestion queer fans should “compromise” while visiting Qatar, while Scott wore the pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband while presenting, after players were banned from donning it.