Nadine Dorries admits sharing Netflix account with relatives

Culture secretary says service needs to revise business model, before being told of password-sharing ban

The culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, shares her Netflix account with four other households, including her mother’s, she has told MPs, calling the streaming service an “incredibly generous system”.

Dorries argued that the recent share price collapse at Netflix, which is now worth less than a third of its market value at the start of the year, was evidence only of its success.

“I think that [for] people to even try and paint a picture that Netflix … is struggling is slightly over-egging the pudding. But they are going to have to revise their business model,” she told the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee.

“I’ve always thought it’s [an] incredibly generous system that it has, if you have an account, of allowing other people access. I mean, my mum has access to my account, my kids do. I have Netflix, but there are four other people who can use my Netflix account in different parts of the country.”

Dorries was then apparently told by Sarah Healey, the department’s permanent secretary, that password sharing was not allowed on the service.

Dorries said the broader collapse in tech stocks made the case for privatising Channel 4 stronger, not weaker. The broadcaster needed to accept the sale was inevitable and that the proposed alternatives were not acceptable.

“It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee: Channel 4 is being sold, subject to a vote. I did spend my entire Easter recess reassuring myself that we are in a position where this will happen. And it is very much a case that it is being sold.

“The arguments for not selling it – the reasons for not selling it – we have been through hoops discussing and analysing those reasons. But the fundamental points don’t change, the arguments don’t change: it is owned by the government, and any borrowings or investment stand against the government’s balance sheet.”

She said the government would keep the public service remit for a privatised channel 4 for the next 10 years, but after that it was up to the channel’s new owners to decide what they wanted to do with it – which could include ditching the channel’s news coverage.

“I’m not going to justify a news programme whose news anchor went out shouting obscenities about the Conservative party,” she said. “So, you know, they don’t do themselves any favours sometimes, the news programme.”

Dorries also accused Channel 4 of hiring paid actors for a TV show, Tower Block of Commons, that she appeared in as a new MP. The show, in which Dorries was sent to live in South Acton estate in west London, sparked a minor scandal when the MP was revealed to have smuggled in a £50 note, which she claimed was intended to buy gifts for the children of her hosts.

Now, she said, she believed the hosts were planted by the show’s producers. “I discovered later, they were actually actors,” she told MPs.

“The parents of the boys in that programme actually came here to have lunch with me, and contacted me to tell me, actually, they were in acting school, and that they weren’t really living in a flat, and they weren’t real. And even, if you remember, there’s a pharmacist or somebody that I went to see who prepared food – she was also a paid actress as well.”

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “This is the first suggestion we have heard that viewers were misled about contributors on Tower Block of Commons. We will be contacting the secretary of state to seek further details so that we can investigate it fully.”


Alex Hern Technology editor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
BBC staffed by people ‘whose mum and dad worked there’, says Nadine Dorries
Culture secretary attacks ‘nepotism’ and ‘groupthink’ at broadcaster in interview at Tory conference

Peter Walker and Heather Stewart

04, Oct, 2021 @5:25 PM

Article image
Channel 4 review contradicts Nadine Dorries’ fake reality show claim
Investigation finds no evidence paid actors appeared on 2010 programme featuring Tory MP who is now culture secretary

Mark Sweney

15, Jul, 2022 @1:31 PM

Article image
Nadine Dorries to interview Boris Johnson on launch of her TalkTV show
Former culture secretary and Johnson loyalist picks ex-PM as launch guest for regular Friday night show

Aletha Adu Political correspondent

27, Jan, 2023 @11:44 AM

Article image
BBC and ITV in talks to launch a Netflix-style streaming service
Subscription video service is likely to focus on providing popular older, archive TV content, not the first-run of shows

Mark Sweney

10, Mar, 2016 @3:23 PM

Article image
The great British broadcasting shake-up – all you need to know
Government TV changes include possible sale of Channel 4 and new rules governing streaming

Mark Sweney Media business correspondent

22, Jun, 2021 @11:01 PM

Article image
Younger viewers now watch Netflix more than the BBC, says corporation
Broadcaster fears being ‘overtaken by competitors’ as technology firms increasingly dominate on-demand viewing

Mark Sweney

28, Mar, 2018 @1:11 PM

Article image
Ofcom proposes radical shake-up of UK broadcasting
Streaming firms could provide public service programming in an increasingly digital world

Archie Bland

08, Dec, 2020 @1:24 PM

Article image
Tory party suspends Nadine Dorries

Conservative party confirms it has suspended whip from MP who left country to appear on I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here

Hélène Mulholland, political reporter

06, Nov, 2012 @6:21 PM

Article image
MPs condemn Nadine Dorries for claims Channel 4 faked TV show
Committee says ex-culture secretary’s claim that participants in reality TV show were actors is not credible

Jim Waterson and Mark Sweney

20, Oct, 2022 @10:53 AM

Article image
Nadine Dorries appointed culture secretary in reshuffle
First Cabinet post for MP who has accused BBC of bias and complained of ‘leftwing snowflakes’ in comedy

Peter Walker, Jim Waterson and Aubrey Allegretti

15, Sep, 2021 @5:56 PM