The actors are among a group of celebrities who are backing The Great BBC Campaign to lobby on behalf of the public-funded organisation, which is facing a raft of cost-cutting measures from the U.K. government.

They have all filmed segments for a campaign video in which they share their fondness for the BBC. Fellow actors including Bond star Naomie Harris, Steve Coogan, and David Oyelowo, and directors Richard Curtis, Tom Hooper, and Danny Boyle also took part.

In the film, MCKellen credits the BBC with introducing him to acting via Saturday night radio dramas, adding, "My early education... on world drama came from Saturday night theatre... Sitting around the radio with the family... I might get a bit teary because those are some of the best moments of my childhood."

Daniel goes on to credit the BBC with launching his career because he landed a role in a TV adaptation of Charles DICkens' David Copperfield before being signed for the Harry Potter franchise.

"My first job in television was for the BBC and it was David Copperfield and yeah I got to work on that first job I ever did with Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith... Amazing, amazing training and an amazing start to my career."

Coogan, whose iconic comedy character Alan Partridge was brought to life via BBC radio and TV shows, adds, "It is public philanthropy, serving the nation for its own sake."

The film was directed by My Week with Marilyn moviemaker Simon Curtis.