Category Archives: Television

Dorries contradicts herself – badly – over sale of Channel 4

Not making sense: Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has been telling us that Channel 4 must be sold because it is not making enough in advertising revenue – but it is in fact making record profits. Confronted with that fact, she said that means now is a good time to sell it. So it IS all about making money, then!

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has come badly unstuck on her reasons for selling Channel 4.

Giving evidence to the Commons Culture Committee on Thursday (May 19), she said Channel 4 is dependent on just one stream of revenue – advertising – but income is falling as advertisers have more choice. She claimed Netflix would be a better option.

And the government cannot allow Channel 4 to borrow to invest, because the taxpayer would be liable for those debts, she said. This actually does make sense of one of the restrictions on the channel’s funding.

But later in the session, the SNP’s John Nicolson pointed out that Channel 4 is currently making record profits – belying what Dorries has been saying about advertising revenue.

Her response?

“That means it would be a good time to sell.”

This is a woman who – like the character Eccles in The Goon Show – refuses to be defeated by logic.

If someone tried to make her understand how gravity works, we may reasonably expect her to say – like Eccles did – that she stays on the ground because she lives there.

What a goon.

And her answer reveals that this sale is not about what’s best for Channel 4.

It’s about making fast money for a spendthrift government.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley’s wild Strictly claim raises doubts about her accusation against Mike

Rachel Riley reckons Strictly Come Dancing, the ratings-topping BBC show from which she was fifth to be voted off in 2014, is “fixed”.

The claim was the second outlandish accusation in an interview with The Times that has been widely reported. The other was an attempt to say transgender activists who criticised the author JK Rowling for comments on the subject were actually anti-Semites attacking her for criticising Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism.

Once again – as with the Rowling claim – Riley provided no evidence to support her statement.

And this time she did not bother to make it a statement of opinion.

She said she thinks that producers “know from the start who they want to win and what journeys they want to take different people on, to have the right balance”.

Then she claimed that, in order to achieve this, “they can obviously fix the scores”.

Strictly‘s producers could, in theory, sue her for libel. Her comment brings the show into disrepute and, considering the effect winning has on celebrities’ careers, could be construed as saying that the show has deliberately harmed the livelihoods of some contestants.

I note that Riley herself claims to suffer post-traumatic stress after her own appearance on the show. Her interview could be construed as a call for others to take further action against the show.

But it seems she feels safe in making her claim because it is hard to disprove outright. Strictly‘s producers have responded, saying: “This claim is categorically untrue. The BBC has strict procedures and editorial guidelines in place regarding impartiality and Strictly upholds all of these.”

But it is unlikely that the BBC invites impartial observers to watch those procedures being followed. And how can anyone be sure that an automated voting scheme involving millions of viewers can’t be rigged?

Still, I trust the BBC over Riley. Claims without evidence tend to be considered false.

She has also claimed that I libelled her by publishing an article pointing to evidence that she abused and harassed a 16-year-old girl with mental health issues after the girl challenged her support of a claim that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was anti-Semitic.

If I can crowdfund enough money, we will go to court for a trial in July.

The difference should be clear: my article pointed to evidence. I can show the information that led me to believe what I was saying. And I really want to!

With the BBC (among others Riley has wildly accused) ducking out of taking action, my case is your chance to see her get her comeuppance.

To help ensure that you get that chance, here’s how to contribute to the crowdfund:

Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

Use other social media in the same way.

Riley’s behaviour suggests that she thinks she can say anything she likes and get away with it.

Let’s prove that she is mistaken.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Top TV writer makes ‘perfect’ dig at government’s privatisation plans

Cash cow: campaigning organisation We Own It created this banner, with a highly-relevant message. And why DO the Tories want to privatise Channel 4 so much? For their own profit?

Russell T Davies has scored another hit – this time with a single sentence rather than a TV series.

The It’s a Sin creator and returning Doctor Who showrunner was speaking on the red carpet at the BAFTA Awards ceremony.

Asked if he had expected It’s a Sin to have the impact it did – raising money for HIV and AIDS charities and being nominated for 11 BAFTAs – Mr Davies responded as follows:

Of course, it was made on a channel that the government’s going to sell off while they’re also planning to get rid of the BBC licence fee so if you like shows like this, go and vote differently, that’s what I say.

He’s absolutely right!

If This Writer had time right now, I’d be making infographics with that quote all over it, using an image from shows like It’s a Sin, Doctor Who… Peaky Blinders would be another good one… with a tagline saying something like “Conservatives want to kill the best of British TV”.

Because they do.

Source: Doctor Who’s Russell T Davies praised for ‘perfect’ dig at government at BAFTA Awards – Birmingham Live

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Dorries defies public opinion to push ahead with Channel 4 privatisation

Cash cow: campaigning organisation We Own It created this banner, with a highly-relevant message. And why DO the Tories want to privatise Channel 4 so much? For their own profit?

What is the point of the government running a public consultation if it is only going to ignore the result because it disagrees with it?

That is the question we should ask after a public consultation on Nadine Dorries’s plan to privatise Channel 4 showed that a massive 24/25 of the public don’t want it to happen.

96% of responses to a Government consultation said they did not agree with the statement that there are “challenges in the current TV broadcasting market” that present barriers to “a sustainable Channel Four” staying in public hands.

Just 2% said they agreed.

A large number of responses to the consultation came through the social campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, which rephrased the Government’s statement as: “Do you think Channel Four should be privatised?”

But even with these stripped out of the figures, the vast majority of the other respondents – 89% – disagreed that Channel Four is facing challenges to a successful future in public ownership, while 5% agreed.

Dorries has unilaterally decided that the 55,737 UK citizens who responded to her consultation don’t matter.

In a response, she reiterated her claim that the broadcaster faces “serious challenges” and that anyone “choosing to dismiss them” is “burying their head in the sand”.

It seems to This Writer that it is the Culture Secretary who is burying her head in the sand!

Her counter-claim is that Channel 4’s current ownership model, as a publicly-owned, advertising-funded broadcaster, is too restrictive.

But it is a model dictated by the government. Dorries says after the channel is privatised it will be better-able to make its own programmes, because the government will then lift restrictions on borrowing money or raising private sector capital by issuing shares.

While remaining in public ownership would preclude the issuing of shares, it would be perfectly possible for the government to vary Channel 4’s current ownership model to provide it with other forms of revenue generation in order to make, and then sell, programmes.

There is absolutely no need at all – and no public desire – for Channel 4 to be privatised.

But Dorries is determined to do it anyway.

Governments don’t make any changes lightly. They always act (in the case of good governments) in the public interest or (in the case of bad governments like that of Boris Johnson) in their own members’ selfish self-interest.

Look at the increasing influence on the National Health Service of private health companies who count dozens (if not hundreds) of MPs as shareholders.

Dorries’s decision means it is appropriate for us to ask: what do the Tories hope to get out of this? And why should we tolerate the loss of another great public institution to their greed?

Source: Nine in 10 people disagree with Government plans to privatise Channel 4 – survey

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Jack Monroe explains the UK’s cost of living crisis for ignorant Tories

Jack Monroe: “The people who have the least in this country have routinely been asked to shoulder the burdens.”

This is why the BBC tries not to allow socialists onto its current affairs programmes any more.

But it seems that Politics Live bosses couldn’t avoid inviting ‘Bootstrap Cook’ Jack Monroe, who made a name as the author of a guide for people on benefits, trying to feed a family with only pennies to spend on each meal (courtesy of a Tory government that couldn’t care less).

Jack had given evidence on the current cost of living crisis to the Commons Work and Pensions committee on the morning of March 9, and subsequently appeared on the programme to explain the problems people at the lowest level of society are facing – and the reasons for them.

Here’s what was said:

There’s so much good material here – that the Tory government would undoubtedly wish to suppress:

  • Every pound spent on a child’s health now will save £220 in the future (according to a recent study) – investment in early years education, free school meals, milk for kids and warm, safe, decent homes leads to saving on healthcare, justice and social support.
  • 4.1 million people in the UK are living in poverty, and 4.5 million in fuel poverty. The last number is set to rise to 6.5 million next month (April), when new energy prices are imposed by the privatised energy firms – and to 8.5 million by October. That means around one-eighth of the population of the UK won’t be able to afford to heat their homes properly.(And this doesn’t include the cost to businesses, that are not protected from the full force of the price rises by Ofgem’s cap.)
  • In the UK, 80 people were dying every day as a result of living in cold homes – before Covid-19 and the economic hits that people have taken since, meaning that figure is certain to become much worse.
  • A rapid government intervention is needed to life people out of poverty, allow them to heat their homes, feed themselves and their families and to prevent them from dying.

Jack said: “The Chancellor can find a whole orchard of magic money trees for his pet projects and the things that he deems to be worthy: ‘Eat Out to Help Out’, writing off furlough fraud. He needs to dig around in that orchard and find some money for people who don’t have the same recourse, don’t have the same voice, don’t necessarily have the same lobbying power – and that’s children, disabled people, vulnerable people, elderly people, and act in their best interests as well.”

Here’s a vital point: “If people had listened when those of us who started to raise the issue [did so] a decade ago, we certainly wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in now.”

Also: “The policy groups… today… the Resolution Foundation, the Social Policy Forum… they all advocated a one-off cash lump sum of around £500 to help lift people out of the cost of living crisis… in a mirror of what America did during the pandemic; to give all their citizens £500, to let them make all the judgement calls and decisions themselves about how best to rescue their household budgets and how best to sort out the situations that they are in.

“People who are in the lowest income deciles, when you give them money, it goes back into their local economies. If you give people who earn the top 0.1 per cent of wages in the UK money, it disappears off to the Cayman Islands. So giving people a one-off lump sum payment in order to dig themselves out of whatever holes they’re in isn’t just something that us mad left-wingers are banging on about, it’s what the government’s own think-tanks and policymakers are avidly recommending.”

Paul Scully, Tory minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, said the government had increased its euphemistic ‘National Living Wage’ by the highest cash terms ever. But this is a burden place upon businesses – not on the government itself; no Tory minister has explained where most firms are going to find the money to pay this increase, on top of paying energy bills for which the standing charge alone may have increased by 500 per cent, at a time when their customers are unlikely to be able to afford their services due to their own struggle to pay the bills.

Then he said: “It’s right that we actually make sure that we’re not recovering our economy on the back of the lowest-paid.”

Labour’s Jim McMahon contradicted him, pointing out that this is exactly what is happening: “BP and Shell have made record profits but they’re not being asked to contribute more; it’s households that are being asked to contribute more.”

Scully said the government wanted the energy giants to invest their huge profits in diversification away from fossil fuel – an admirable ambition, but is there any evidence that they are actually bothering to do it?

And Jack Monroe came back with the clincher: “I really have to take issue with the fact that you said that the government are not going to recover the economy off the back of the lowest-paid people, because that has been Conservative policy for the last 12 years. b

“Austerity-led ideology has meant that the people who have the least in this country have routinely been asked to shoulder the burdens of the bank bailouts and of all of the policies that consecutive Conservative governments have put in place – to reduce welfare payments, to reduce the support that is available for the poorest and most vulnerable people and the lowest-income households.

The economy has been rebuilt … on the bodies of the dead people who are no longer with us because they have been failed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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TV Comedian shreds Starmer

Keir Starmer: he’s not doing here what Sophie Duker suggested in the clip – but the look on his face may suggest he has been in the recent past.

This was too good to leave as a throwaway tweet so I’ve taken video and put it on TikTok to test the possibilities of that platform (and as practice for myself).

It’s from Frankie Boyle’s New World Order, in which comedian Sophie Duker (not Dukes, as the software insisted on renaming her) passes judgement on Keir Starmer’s tenure (so far) as leader of the Labour Party.

It’s not good:

@voxpolitical

Sophie Dukes shreds Keir Starmer (from Frankie Boyle’s New World Order).

♬ original sound – VoxPolitical

(To be honest, the clip isn’t that good either – sorry! But I’m sure it’ll get better once I’ve ironed out a few things.)

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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After ‘violent speech in politics’ row, Starmer talks about giving the Left ‘a good kicking’


I would ask how anybody could vote for a party leader this stupid, but we live in a country that is run by Boris Johnson.

Suffice it to say that, a matter of days after the murder of Sir David Amess and the subsequent hysteria about violent speech in politics, Keir Starmer was on Good Morning Britain, agreeing with Richard Madeley about giving Labour socialists “a good kicking”.

Perhaps he could be partially excused for being drawn into the conversation by Madeley – who knew exactly what he was doing and that it was unacceptable, have no doubt:

It seems that Madeley (and GMB) has lurched to the right after that programme’s period criticising Boris Johnson over his (many) Covid-19 failures.

But be honest – in the light of this performance, do you think perhaps these people were always fascists? (It is fascist language, after all.)

Let’s have a look at some of the people that Madeley – and Starmer – want to give “a good kicking”. Here’s one:

And here’s another:

Fortunately some of us can still laugh at the ridiculous so-called Labour “leader”:

But the question is to be asked:

And the answer, inevitably, is not long coming: he’s still desperate for some hard-right business mogul to bail Labour out of the bankruptcy he is plunging it into:

It seems he has already sold his own soul.

Now he’s selling Labour’s.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Normalising racism: Abbott attacked for highlighting Farage’s hypocrisy over Raducanu

Raducanu: she won the US Open so the racists in UK politics are happy to let this Romanian-heritage teenager be British. What would they have called her if she had lost?

The BBC really is contemptible these days.

Its daily Politics Live programme has just taken time out to criticise Diane Abbott for making a perfectly reasonable point.

After Emma Raducanu won the US Open Ladies Singles tennis final, Nigel Farage was among the many who praised her up.

But arch Brexiter Farage, while campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union, had previously stated that he would not want a Romanian living next door to him.

Ms Raducanu’s heritage is Romanian.

So Ms Abbott was absolutely right to make this point:

And she’s not the only one pointing out the hypocrisy:

The verdict on Politics Live?

Led by host Jo Coburn, guests united to say that Farage’s words were in the past and that it is wrong to use a sporting even to score political points.

So it’s fine for politicians like Boris Johnson (and, indeed, Farage) to make hay when sportspeople representing the UK do well – no matter that they personally have expressed racist views that constitute abuse against individuals among those sportspeople in the past?

I don’t think so!

The whole disgrace was encapsulated in a tweet before Ms Raducanu’s victory (that I didn’t save, sadly).

It said that, depending on the result, the Daily Mail would tell us whether she was British or not.

And it’s a good point.

Would these creepy politicians be quite so keen to let bygones be bygones if Ms Raducanu had not won?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley libel: will this case questionnaire open up a ‘procedural quagmire’?

Rachel Riley’s case against me is moving closer to court with a demand for me to fill out a ‘directions questionnaire’.

The court will expect both sides to spend time and money budgeting and planning the case, even though both sides are likely to have much – if not all – of those aspects already worked out.

It is possible that Ms Riley’s side may be sucked into this ‘procedural quagmire’ (not my words), either unwillingly or in yet another attempt to drain my funds – the cash that you are providing for me to defend myself.

Admittedly, if she tries to string out this stage to waste my money, she is likely to waste much more of her own – but she has much more of her own money to waste and, with the evidence at trial likely to make her look very bad indeed, this may still seem a worthwhile option to her.

I have instructed my solicitor to write to her legal team, suggesting an approach that cuts out as much of the cost (and time involved) as possible. But I need to be sure that I can afford it if they disagree.

So – as you’ve probably guessed – please contribute in the way you find most appropriate:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

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Jeremy Clarkson’s annual A-level tweet undermined – by good results and satirical banter


August 10 was A-level results day for thousands of UK students – and TV’s Jeremy Clarkson wheeled out his usual tweet telling us all that he got a ‘C’ and two ‘U’ and did very well for himself.

He was pre-empted by this…

… but went ahead and did it anyway:

But the Clarkson’s Farm star’s annual effort fell on stony ground this year – partly because A-level results were particularly good this year:

Top grades for A-level results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have reached a record high – with 44.8% getting A* or A grades.

This second year of replacement results after exams were cancelled, has seen even higher results than last year when 38.5% achieved top grades.

There is a major caveat to this, which is that, like last year, the grades are based on teachers’ judgements rather than on the results of exams. As a consequence, the percentage of students receiving A* or A grades has been enormously higher than previous years and this will create its own challenges for students wishing to continue in education, and for those applying for jobs.

The other reason Clarkson’s tweet had a poor reception is that his comment simply isn’t relevant for most people, because unlike most people he was extremely well-placed from the start and didn’t need good results to get a lucrative – and exclusive – career:

“Posh kids can only fail upwards”… like Boris Johnson?

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