Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Lenny Henry have signed an open letter calling on the next prime minister to reinstate free TV licences for all over-75s.

Angela Rippon, Len Goodman and Gogglebox’s June Bernicoff have also put their names to the letter. The stars said they were “deeply worried about the poorest older people who are set to lose out”. Their message came as MPs prepared to question BBC executives about the subject at the House of Commons.

Director general Tony Hall and chairman Sir David Clementi are among those who are appearing in front of the culture select committee. Last month, the BBC decided it would only provide free TV licences to over-75s who receive the pension credit benefit. The corporation said it could not afford to waive licence fees for all over-75s after the government passed responsibility for the provision to the broadcaster. The open letter, also signed by Christopher Biggins, Lionel Blair, Ricky Tomlinson, Ben Fogle, Ed Balls, Miriam Margolyes and Lesley Joseph, will be taken to Conservative Party headquarters later by the Age UK charity along with more than 30,000 letters from members of the public.