The BBC’s biggest problem

As I write this, the director-general of the BBC is being quizzed on the corporation’s future by people who were around when Sir John Reith kind of set the whole thing up. A cheap crack, I know – and I have nothing against the House of Lords. Anything which mediates our dangerous experiment with democracy is to be welcomed – the peers, the royals, the judges etc. I have been dipping in and out of the event and have yet to hear Tim Davie asked if he plans to bring back It’s That Man Again or whether or not the injunction ‘sod off’ is suitable for post-watershed viewing. If only

The day I nearly brought RT down

It is interesting to watch Ofcom finally remove the broadcasting licence from the Russian propaganda channel Russia Today (RT). I almost managed to do the job myself about 12 years ago. Back in the 2000s, a number of bad regimes were rushing into the broadcasting space to try to give themselves a better international image. The Chinese Communist party set up a London branch of its state television network called CCTV, apparently unaware of the hilarity this would cause in the English language. Meanwhile, the Iranian government started PressTV to push the ayatollahs’ views of the world. It set up its propaganda channel from a roundabout on the Hanger Lane

The questions hanging over GB News

GB News is the most interesting experiment in British television news since Sky in 1989. The brainchild of Andrew Neil (who is also chairman of The Spectator), the channel is pinning its hopes on there being an audience for something different. The thinking goes that the mainstream broadcasters reflect the progressive pieties of London rather than the values of the rest of the country. Critics have characterised the channel as ‘right-wing’, though Neil and his team have been careful not to embrace the label. Of course, GB News isn’t the first broadcaster to cover the news with a particular slant — Channel 4 News has been doing so for a

I have herd immunity

I am a type. I don’t like groups. I maintain few memberships. I question and resist authority, especially enforcement of rules for the rules’ sake. I’m leery of orthodoxy. I hold back from shared cultural enthusiasms. Everyone’s met such obstreperous specimens — the original self-isolators — and some readers out there are just like me. We’re irksome in emergencies, when the police want the crowd to evacuate and we insist on knowing why. We sometimes spite our own faces; many of us still haven’t seen Hamilton (and now we can’t). We don’t joyously belt out national anthems, and recently, to popular disgust, many of us curmudgeons don’t lean out our