Following months of speculation, the government has finally confirmed its intention to sell off Channel 4 to the highest bidder.

One wonders whether the plan could be somewhat hindered by the prospect that a Chinese technology company or perhaps, Russia Today, might wish to get their hands on a jewel in the crown of British broadcasting?

Early speculation suggests that the most likely bidders would be some of the big streaming companies, such as Netflix or Amazon.

The whole point about Channel 4 is that it is an independent public service broadcaster which is charged with maintaining the highest artistic standards. The broadcaster also provides much-needed work for small independent producing companies and those whom they employ, in London but more substantially the regions and devolved nations.

If one of the streaming megaliths purchases the business, then they will presumably use it as an additional outlet for some of their less popular (American) material, which could harm the creative industries across the United Kingdom.

If the work from this source were to dry up, then many theatre folk could suffer, since broadcasting has long been the medium that has helped finance stage work.

This might be time for an apology from the man penning this article. During his tenure as Culture Secretary, this column was regularly critical of Oliver Dowden, on the basis that he rarely tried to hide his lack of interest in any aspect of culture, beyond the occasional high-profile musical or football match.

In retrospect, Mr Dowden was a bit of a dream compared to his successor, Nadine Dorries. Despite the fact that she makes so much of her career as a bestselling author, the current Culture Secretary appears to demonstrate the kind of disdain for the arts that could easily remind one of a particularly vindictive, jealous former spouse who envies the success and admiration of the more talented person with whom they used to enjoy happy times.

The demise of Channel 4 is likely to have a deleterious effect on the arts generally and that includes the theatre. A dumbing down of what is still quite often an artistic beacon can only be harmful.

There could be an even more devastating impact on the medium that we love.

If Nadine Dorries and her cabinet colleagues, none of whom has shown any particular enthusiasm for cultural endeavour, can get away with flogging Channel 4 for something in the region of £1 billion, then they might get the taste for selling other institutions.

While the Royal family may just about be exempt, at least in the short term, using proper capitalist principles, not only could you get a good wedge of money by selling them off to the Chinese, Russians or Americans, but there would also be a significant saving since the new purchasers would undoubtedly take over the Royal list. Rishi Sunak might also be rubbing his hands together with glee in the knowledge that he could tax them to the hilt, rather than accepting a token voluntary contribution from HM the Queen.

That may not be on the cards, but if Rupert Murdoch or Elon Musk came along and offered an eight-figure sum for the National Theatre or the RSC, can you really see either of those literary greats, Nadine Dorries or Boris Johnson, turning it down?

In either case, high quality, artistically-geared programming would soon give way to the worst kind of commercial exploitation.

Therefore, readers of this column with influence in high places are strongly urged to put in a word in the appropriate ear of anyone who might be able to save Channel 4 and, by extension, our national theatrical treasures.