GB News launch night, review: First show beset by glitches but message comes through loud and clear
Andrew Neil could hardly have picked a more auspicious day to launch GB News. The weather was glorious, England beat Croatia in the Euros (plus Wales and Scotland, variously, are still unbeaten in the tournament) and it was a Sunday in which most Britons will have been feeling pretty chipper. Could Neil’s right-leaning, fast-talking live news channel, which aims to take on the leftie, “woke” orthodoxy of mainstream British media, have asked for a better start?
Well, yes, frankly. The sound was often out of sync, one presenter suffered a microphone failure and the sets looked as if they had been hastily cobbled together (which, of course, they have been). Live TV is often beset by glitches and the more positive GB News producers will have been consoling themselves with the thought that they had at least got a bunch of them out of the way. The naysayers on Twitter enjoyed all that.
Proceedings began at 8pm, with an introductory hour in which Neil chitchatted with the talent, allowing various presenters to set out their stall ahead of their debut shows. First, however, we got a five-minute monologue from Chairman Neil, in which he stared us down through the camera and laid out exactly what was going on. The set-up felt vaguely North Korean.
Neil didn’t tell us anything new, but that was beside the point. This was a chance to nail down GB News’s core values. It is a voice for the voiceless, he said, those who have been sidelined or ignored. The Westminster bubble is out, regional reporting is in. There will be no sneering, no talking down, no patronising. “This will not be an echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset,” he said. Neither, he said, will it be Fox News.