What does the BBC mean to you?
David Hare, playwright
Alongside the NHS and the welfare state, it’s the finest expression of mid-20th-century public idealism. And it’s also the insane bureaucracy that George Orwell satirised in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Yanis Varoufakis, co-founder of DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) and former Greek finance minister
During the dictatorship in which I grew up in Greece, the BBC (along with Deutsche Welle) offered a window on to a happier world where one could think and speak without being crushed. Later, from my late teens till now, BBC World Service and Radio 4 became the soundtrack of my days and (especially) nights. As for BBC TV, its occasional flourishes kept me hopeful that screens do not have to be filled with trash all of the time – that the tyranny of the spectacle can, occasionally, give way to visual enlightenment.
Meera Syal, comedian and writer
The BBC gave me a home to take my work to…