It's hardly The Good Life

Briers slams UK Gold for 'legalisted theft'

Richard Briers has slammed cable channels for the low royalties he receives for classic sitcoms, branding it "legalised theft".

The actor, who turned 70 this week, says he only gets £100 each time The Good Life is rerun on UK Gold.

He told actors' newspaper The Stage: "It's fine when they show The Good Life on BBC2 but on cable TV it is nothing more than legalised theft.

"They signed an agreement so many years ago giving us a flat fee of about £100, claiming that they only had minuscule audiences and that they couldn't afford to pay us anything appreciable.

"Next thing you know, they're getting millions of people a week and we're not getting a single penny more. Take off the agent's fee from that £100 and your tax and I'm left with nothing at all. Do I watch cable TV? No way - I can't afford it anyway. Certainly not on what they don't pay me."

But UK Gold, which adheres to a fees agreement with actors union Equity, hardly attracts millions. The Good Life averages around 100,000 viewers on the cable channel, compared to 2.3million on BBC2.

A union spokesman said the fees were "realistic" given the small audience watching cable TV.


Published: 16 Jan 2004

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