Dan Hannan Reviews Channel 4’s So-Called ‘Cultural Gems’ in the Lords

The reaction to Monday night’s Channel 4 announcement began yesterday as pearl-clutching before quickly descending into accusations of fascism on the part of the government. A key tenet of fascism being media independence from the state…

One immediate reaction from metropolitan luvvies is that the outrage is partly because Channel 4 is a unique broadcaster that focuses on avant-garde social issues – “C4 has been the lifeblood of UK diversity” as Adil Ray said – and privatising it will prevent such programmes for Britain’s underrepresented minority groups from being made.

Thankfully, Dan Hannan was on hand in the Lords to fact check this three-decade old misty-eyed view of the channel. By reading out that particular day’s programming schedule:

“My Lords, ever since the announcement was made, we have been hearing about all these rare cultural gems which are made possible by the unique way in which Channel 4 is financed and which somehow would not be possible in a red in tooth and claw jungle capitalism. So I have just been looking at what the programming is now. With permission, I will tell your Lordships’ House: “Kitchen Nightmares”, “Undercover Boss”, “Steph’s Packed Lunch”, “Countdown”, “A Place in the Sun”, “A New Life in the Sun” and “Sun, Sea and Selling Houses”. Is it really credible to say that we are defending something which could not be provided by the private sector?”

Lord Parkinson diplomatically swerved Hannan’s pejorative listings review, partly responding in Latin to suggest the minister may not be too familiar with Channel 4’s offerings. If anyone’s interested, today you can look forward to three episodes of Frasier, the exact same cooking and undercover boss programmes as yesterday, Countdown, three hours of people buying homes abroad, the Simpsons, Hollyoaks and Naked Attraction at 10pm. Netflix could only dream of such a line-up…

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