Backlash to Byrne’s Speech from Downing Street

The backlash to Channel 4’s News and Current Affairs supremo Dorothy Byrne’s McTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International TV Festival last night is coming in strong. Ms Byrne had a difficult job justifying some of the actions of her staff to Kay Burley, who gently and tactfully referred to the Jon Snow “f**k the Tories” incident. It is not as if this is an isolated incident, Guido has heard Snow slag off the Tories many times.*

Downing Street are not happy about it at all, following our earlier report they are making their view of Channel 4 News very clear. An unimpressed senior No. 10 source tells Guido

“It’s disappointing to see the head of a supposedly impartial news organisation decide to use deliberately inflammatory language to make a strong political statement. We will now consider our response.”

His predecessor as the senior No. 10 source also got in touch to say that it is a joke for Channel 4 to claim to be impartial. You reap what you sow. If Channel 4 are going to campaign politically with the slogan “ways to change the world” rather than to report on it, what do they expect?

*Check the videos of the annual Political Studies Association Awards, which Jon Snow presents, for examples.

Politico-Media Men Feel the Byrne

Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4’s News and Current Affairs supremo, gave the McTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International TV Festival last night. Her speech was a belter and had the luvvies laughing and squirming. She hit out at everybody, mainly men in television and men for not going on television.

She mocked previous McTaggart lecturers and their failings mercilessly before going on to have a go at sexists in the television industry:

I spotted one name among my predecessors who has not yet had the comeuppance he deserves for his assaults on women. That’s one of the things about being an old lady, you gather a lot of information over the years. To men who have behaved badly in the past, I say this: you know who you are. And so do I.Tonight, there’ll be no shortage of sexist bastards, possibly among you in the audience.

After the #MeToo tirade she hit out at Boris and Corbyn for talking directly to voters via social media. Comparing them to Putin “who also likes to talk directly to the nation”. Byrne might have forgotten that US Presidents FDR and Reagan did the same, along with May’s repeated dull addresses from behind the Downing Street lectern. Churchill also famously did a lot of radio addresses to the nation…

Guido is all for calling politician’s liars when they are lying. The reality is politicians are responding defensively to ‘gotcha journalism’. They know that social media is for many their main news source, more so than TV for younger demographic groups. Politicians can reach just as many voters without Jon Snow trying to f**k ’em. You can call that a crisis in democracy or you can rethink your approach to interviews.

Byrne also glossed over the elephant in the room, Channel 4 News is now perceived as a left-wing campaigning platform to which Ofcom gives a free pass. That the boss of Channel 4 News says her vision is of “empowered and daring producers and commissioning editors who want to shape society for the better” which doesn’t work “if all those empowered people are just a bunch of posh boys.” It is all very well having diverse faces making the news, do they all have to be uniformly left-of-centre?*

*Dorothy will cite her commissioning of Peter Oborne and Liam Halligan as evidence that there are right-of-centre programme makers on Channel 4. The token two have both, funnily enough, used their Channel 4 platform to attack the Tories…

Boris Doing BBC Debate, Ditching Channel 4

Boris has made his decision on the TV debates, he will do the BBC debate next Tuesday but he’s spurning Brexit-afflicted Channel 4’s Sunday offering. Channel 4 have made clear that they will be going hard on their efforts to “empty chair” him, Team Boris have evidently decided that’s preferable to spending an hour with Jon “f**k the Tories” Snow. See you next Tuesday…

Channel 4 Now Blaming Football as Well as Brexit for Slump

Channel 4 News have now shifted to trying to blame the World Cup for their poor recent viewing figures, editor Ben De Pear had a sense of humour failure over an obviously light-hearted joke by Iain Dale last night. Funny how Channel 4’s annual report forgot to mention the football at all when discussing the News programme’s poor performance…

One industry insider Guido spoke to dismisses Channel 4’s deflection attempts as a “real joke”, Guido hears that Channel 4’s latest upfronts left TV industry figures deeply underwhelmed. Rumours going around are that Director of Programmes Ian Katz could be the one getting the boot…

Carole’s Bitter BAFTA Barb at Channel 4

Channel 4 execs were busy celebrating their BAFTA victory last night for their Cambridge Analytica exposé, despite mysteriously failing to put any real scrutiny on the key person at the heart of it all. Sadly one person who wasn’t sharing the love was Pulitzer-nominated journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who bitterly complained:

“Its fine, lads. You take the BAFTA. I’ll take the abuse.”

Who knew that making legal threats and trying to use data protection laws against your own collaborators isn’t good for your working relationships?

At least Carole doesn’t have to commiserate on her own, famously successful Twitter lawyer Jolyon Maugham cruelly suffered yet another defeat at the hands of the law last Friday as a judge threw out his final attempt to stop the UK having enough medicines in the event of no deal Brexit. Poor old Carole and Jolyon just can’t get a break…

Channel 4 Unveils Brexit Battle Bus

Clever rebrand of the famous Vote Leave battle bus by Channel 4 to promote their new Brexit drama with Benedict Cumberbatch which is airing tonight. Triggering Remoaners before they even tune in…

Guido saw an advance screening of Brexit: The Uncivil War last week and it is well worth a watch, so far it is annoying all the right people. Channel 4, 9pm…

Target of Carole’s Latest Conspiracy is Remain Donor

Carole Cadwalladr has had a busy weekend getting worked up about Channel 4’s Brexit film starring Benedict Cumberbatch. She fired off a number of “intemperate” tweets before deleting (some of) them and apologising to playwright James Graham, insisting she didn’t mean “to intimidate”. Which will come as news to anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of one of Carole’s notorious phone calls.

Carole’s main gripe appears to be that the film is part-financed by Access Industries, a company owned by Len Blavatnik, the Russian businessman and philanthropist who funds large parts of the entertainment industry through Warner Music. Carole calls Blavatnik a “Trump donor & Putin chum” while moaning about an “ongoing cover-up” and “absence of basic facts”. A feeling that will be familiar to anyone who has read her stories…

There’s just one problem with her latest conspiracy theory. As Sky News revealed back in May 2016, Blavatnik’s Access Industries was actually a donor… to the Remain campaign:


At least she’s finally going after Remain campaign funding for once…

Channel 4 to Host Four Way Brexit Debate

Channel 4 have announced that they will be hosting “The Real Brexit Debate” following Labour’s refusal to sign up to the BBC’s debate proposal. The live broadcast will occur this Sunday, 9th December, two days before Parliament votes on the deal.

Channel 4’s format will have four -unnamed – politicians, representing May’s deal, no deal, a hypothetical Corbyn deal, and remaining in the EU. Questions will be taken from a live studio audience, who Channel 4 say they are working with Survation to assure its balance.

Members of the public can apply to join the audience here

First Look: Channel 4’s Brexit Drama

Channel 4 have released a teaser trailer for their upcoming Brexit drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Vote Leave supremo Dominic Cummings. The trailer doesn’t necessarily calm the suspicions that this is going to be more of a Cadwalladr-inspired techno-conspiracy than a serious political drama. Will they have to dramatically rewrite their script after the Information Commissioner blew apart Carole’s conspiracies today?

Media Moan About Missing May

Broadcasters have ignited a media spat with Number 10 over access to Theresa May, with Channels 4 and 5 particularly aggrieved about not getting time with the PM compared to the BBC. An indignant Michael Crick tweeted “if Number Ten is not careful it could soon look like the BBC has become the state broadcaster.”

May’s comms chief and former BBC exec Robbie Gibb was the recipient of a strongly-worded missive from the broadcasters earlier this afternoon:

Robbie wasn’t having any of it, hitting back with a long list of the PM’s recent interviews and challenging them over whether they’d made the same fuss over Corbyn last week:

Over to you, Channel 4…

Mandela: Margaret Thatcher Is An Enemy Of Apartheid

Channel 4‘s interview with the Prime Minister in South Africa has again given rise to the internet myth that Margaret Thatcher somehow supported apartheid. Here’s Nelson Mandela setting the record straight.

“[Margaret Thatcher] is an enemy of apartheid. Our differences are in regard to the methods of inducing the Government to dismantle apartheid.”

Also worth noting that Michael Crick’s accusation that “Mrs Thatcher believed that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist” is nonsense. In fact when she met the leader of South Africa in 1984, official records show that Thatcher told Botha “very firmly” that “apartheid had to be dismantled, [and] Nelson Mandela and other prisoners released”. Anti-apartheid movement president Trevor Huddleston wrote to Thatcher to say her words were “truly all I could have wished for”.

Channel 4 should be better than to peddle comprehensively disproven internet myths.

Brexit Drama Cast List in Full

Deadline has the cast for Channel 4’s new Brexit drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dom Cummings. The Vote Leave boss’ wife, the Spectator’s Mary Wakefield, will be played by Liz White from Call the Midwife.

Skyfall’s Rory Kinnear is a good shout for Craig Oliver…

Guido can see The Crown’s John Heffernan doing a good Matthew Elliott. Though we preferred our suggestion

Corrie’s Lee Boardman is Arron Banks. Bit harsh.

Not sure about Richard Goulding from The Windsors as Boris.

Curiously, the show has also cast actors to play Aggregate IQ’s Zack Massingham and Labour Brexiteer businessman John Mills, which suggests it is going to be more of a Cadwalladr-style whinge fest about boring data stuff than an actual drama about the referendum. Predictable… 

Dispatches Fishing Expedition Ignores Remain Collusion

Journalists from Dispatches are ringing round former junior Vote Leave volunteers on a fishing expedition to find the next Chris Wylie or Shahmir Shah. Guido understands the programme is focusing on alleged co-ordination between Vote Leave and BeLeave. For some strange reason Channel 4 don’t seem interested in investigating the much greater evidence of co-ordination between the various Remain campaigns, which the Electoral Commission is also looking into. Is this an impartial use of taxpayers’ money?

Dispatches has at least two producers, Janet Eastham and Stefanie Stafford, calling the home phone numbers of ex-Vote Leave youngsters, which doesn’t seem very GDPR compliant. Guido hopes their ability to clock a Walter Mitty is better than the shambolic Carole Cadwalladr charade with the less than reliable Wylie and Shahmir. If Dispatches new commissioning editor, Louisa Compton, is interested in making a more balanced programme about the Remain campaign flouting the rules, Guido is happy to help them out…

Brexit Drama Cast List in Full

Channel 4 have today announced a new drama about the referendum starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings. Guido has some suggestions for the rest of the cast…

Rimmer from Red Dwarf as Vote Leave boss Matthew Elliott. He’s already nailed the mannerisms.[…] Read the rest

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Katz to Channel 4

Newsnight editor Ian Katz is leaving the BBC to become Director of Programmes at Channel 4, The Times is reporting. The move had been rumored for the past few days; he’ll get more viewers in the new job. Another big Beeb role going.[…] Read the rest

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Prue Leith Tweets Great British Bake Off Winner 12 Hours Before Final

Tonight’s final of Great British Bake Off has been ruined after judge Prue Leith tweeted that Sophie is the winner. Clusterf**k at Channel 4 today…[…] Read the rest

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Channel 4‘s Assed Baig Out Amid Promoting Terror-Supporting Islamist

A senior reporter has left Channel 4 News amid presenting a package last week promoting a racist Islamist who supported ramming attacks. Last Thursday Channel 4 News aired a film presented by reporter Assed Baig showcasing Muslim women who “fight back by rejecting stereotypes”.[…] Read the rest

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Snow Respect: Jon’s “Anti-Thatcher” Outburst At Her Funeral


Jon Snow shouted that he was part of the “anti-Thatcher brigade” while covering Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, Guido can reveal. Chartered accountant Craig Gardner witnessed the Channel 4 News anchor make the comment during the former Prime Minister’s funeral procession in 2013:

“When I attended Thatcher‘s funeral I was standing on Ludgate Hill in the City of London waiting for the cortege to pass towards St Paul’s Cathedral.

[…] Read the rest

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Snow Storm: Behind the Scenes of Last Night’s Channel 4 News

Guido can reveal what happened off camera on the set of last night’s Channel 4 News when the Adam Smith Institute’s Matt Kilcoyne gently ribbed Jon Snow over the anchor’s “f**k the Tories” outburst at Glastonbury.[…] Read the rest

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Rick Astley and June Sarpong to Face Paxman

rick-astley

Rick Astley will appear alongside fellow celebrity federasts June Sarpong and Delia Smith on the Remain side, while Leave will field Ulrika Jonsson, Mike Read and Theo Paphitis. The panel for the “discussion”, to be grilled by Jeremy Paxman, will be chosen from the 150 strong audience of politicians and C-listers.  […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

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