John Cleese to host GB News as he rails against ‘cancel culture’ | John Cleese

John Cleese has signed up to become a presenter on the right-wing GB News TV channel, while complaining that ‘cancellation culture’ is keeping people like him away from TV screens.

The Monty Python star, who will present shows on GB News from next year, said: “There is a huge amount of important information being censored, both on television and in the press. In my new show, I will talk about it a lot. You should be ready to be shocked.

When asked how his show with GB News came about, Cleese told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I was approached and didn’t know who they were… And then I met one or two of [GB News] people involved and I had dinner with them, and I liked them very much. And what they said was, “People say it’s the right-wing channel, it’s a free-speech channel.”

The 82-year-old said he wouldn’t be offered such a show by the BBC: “The BBC didn’t come to me and say, ‘Would you like to have hour-long shows ?’ And if they did, I’d say, “Not on your nelly!” Because I wouldn’t have had five minutes in the first show before it got canceled or censored.

Cleese said he would work with existing GB News presenter Andrew Doyle, a comedian who writes scripts for Jonathan Pie, a fictional journalist who appears in online videos.

Despite a rocky 2021 launch that saw Andrew Neil step down as chairman, GB News has recovered to build a small but loyal following. It easily beats Rupert Murdoch’s much better-funded talkTV as they vie for television ratings with canceled cultural coverage, complaints about ‘wokery’ in modern life and anti-lockdown stories.

The station recently lost US media company Discovery as a shareholder, with its funding now largely covered by pro-Brexit hedge fund boss Sir Paul Marshall and Dubai-based investment firm Legatum.

GB News is being investigated by media regulator Ofcom over whether claims about the impact of Covid vaccines breached the broadcast code.

Asked if freedom of speech should extend to those who spread misinformation about public health issues, Cleese said: “If there’s a factual answer to something like that, then it should be done. That’s the job, to present the facts, and then to have slightly separate opinions and have a proper argument about it, but without trying to avoid public debate.

He said he was desperate for the state of British politics and sang the praises of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a niche political party founded by supporters of David Owen who refused to join the Liberal Democrats in 1990. He said the SDP was for the people. who are “economically a little left and culturally a little right”.

He also said Monty Python would not be ordered by the BBC today ‘because it’s six whites, five of whom went to Oxbridge’.

He said: “If people appreciate something, then the BBC should do more. And if people don’t like something, they should probably do less. But their job is to produce the best programs possible.