On Sunday June 13, GB News officially launched, marking the first new news channel to premiere in the UK in 30 years, with presenters including Simon McCoy and Alastair Stewart.
Chair Andrew, 72, opened the programme with an introduction, vowing to ‘give a voice to those who feel sidelined or silenced’ and to ‘expose cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is’.
After welcoming GB News presenter Michelle Dewberry to the channel in his first interview, Andrew then went to introduce archaeologist Neil Oliver… which is when things went awry.
Having explained that Neil’s show will explore the ‘core of what it is to be British’, Andrew said to Neil: ‘You are now entering into controversy, current affairs, not the lovely geographic documentaries. How’s that feeling?’
While Neil appeared to deliver a passionate response, viewers were unable to hear what he was saying as his mic seemed to not be working.
In addition to Neil’s voice sounding quiet and fuzzy, whispering could be heard off-screen, something that viewers picked up on.
‘Speak up! And there’s whispering off stage,’ one person tweeted alongside a cry-laughing emoji.
‘Did they forget to buy the microphones?’ someone else wrote.
Another viewer expressed their frustration, stating: ‘@GBNEWS shambles lads!! Can’t hear this guy!!’
‘Well.. #GBNews first interview isn’t going well,’ one Twitter user summarised.
Having been informed that the interview had hit a technical snag, Andrew interrupted Neil, telling him: ‘I’ve just been told we’ve lost your mic a little bit. Stick with us.’
After interviewing Kirsty Gallacher, he eventually managed to bring Neil back, with the conservationist joking that he ‘thought I’d been cancelled there’.
‘I thought they’d got you right away!’ Andrew quipped.
GB News plans to broadcast individual programmes instead of being a rolling news channel, like its counterparts at Sky and the BBC.
Some have claimed that the channel appears to be too ‘right-leaning’, expressing concern that it may follow in the footsteps of American news channel Fox.
However, Andrew recently shut down these claims, telling the Evening Standard: ‘That is an easy, inaccurate shorthand for what we are trying to do. In terms of format we are like Fox but we won’t be like Fox in that they come from a hard right disinformation fake news conspiracy agenda.
‘I have worked too long and hard to build up a journalistic reputation to consider going down that route.’
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