BY JON ALEXANDER
It finally happened, after months of anticipation, GB News finally arrived to take on the media heavyweights like the BBC and Sky News. Launching with a welcome message from its chairman, Andrew Neil, promising to protect free speech and challenge the conventional Westminster mindset with the tag line “if it matters to you, it matters to us” but niftily followed further on by the caveat that they won’t follow fake news, lies, disinformation, distortion of the facts, or conspiracy theories. Which is a nice little get out clause for them, if they don’t want to investigate or talk about anything too difficult, they can just dismiss the subjects as a conspiracy theory and keep the channel mainstream and on the good side of the boycott brigades.
Neil’s introduction and meet and greet with the other presenters and panellists lasted for the full hour, which was a bit like joining the Loose Women lot in their front rooms at the height of the lockdown last year, the amateurish feel didn’t help to establish this as a slick, professional news outlet manned by experienced personnel in front of and behind the cameras. An attempt to talk to Neil Oliver was marred by a dodgy microphone and an aggressive woman hissing “sssshhhhh”, resulting in them having to abandon the chat and move onto others. Neil himself was sat in what appeared to be a redress of Andi Peter’s broom closet, an opportunity to restart Gordon the Gopher’s career sadly missed, the man that made all this happen initially resembled Churchill addressing the general public at a time of crisis and finished up looking like he was waiting for general election results in a 1960s broadcast on the BBC. The aesthetics were not the best, resembling a GCSE meeja studies project at the local comprehensive, it’s clear whoever organised that first hour was hoping Andrew could carry the full weight of the opening segment and not much else was needed except a black curtain.
The launch show gave off strong Nicola Murray vibes when she tried launching a new initiative on ‘The Thick Of It’ intermixed with *that* conference speech from Theresa May where the signage dropped off, had someone started coughing it would have been a nice tribute. All this, while emitting a podcast vibe, left it feeling a bit rushed.
It’s hard to judge whether the channel will be here to stay, predictably all those desperate for a proper news channel have hailed its brilliance and all those who have substituted their personalities for pronouns have claimed it a crime against humanity.
I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the show and will be tuning in tomorrow for more of the same.