GB News

From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Neil Oliver)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
You gotta spin it to win it
Icon media.svg
Stop the presses!
We want pictures
of Spider-Man!
Extra! Extra!
But GB News was playing for real; breakfast time is the battleground on which any new station must fight for ratings and we were assured it would be appointment television. Truthfully the only less palatable appointment I can imagine would be a root canal. Regardless of where you sat on the political spectrum this was unutterably awful; boring, repetitive and cheapskate.
—Judith Woods and Chris Bennion[1]

GB News is a British television news channel which launched on 13 June 2021.

In its presenter roster and announced features such as "Wokewatch", it appears set to lean heavily into culture wars and attack anything liberal or politically correct, and has been dubbed "anti-woke" by British media.[2] It promises to conform to British television rules on impartiality but there is widespread suspicion that it intends to offer some partisan right-wing programming.[3]

In April 2022, Rupert Murdoch's British news operation News UK launched a rival channel, TalkTV, after many delays. It also promised populist news produced from a right-wing perspective, prompting suspicions that the market for televised hate might be oversaturated and only one (at most) would survive.[4][5]

Note: the phrase GB (for Great Britain) traditionally refers to the island divided into Scotland, England, and Wales, but not to Northern Ireland, which is geographically part of Ireland but politically part of the UK (United Kingdom).[6] Nonetheless, GB News appears to be aiming to provide the full range of UK coverage.

Ownership and management[edit]

GB News was founded by Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider, businessmen who have close links to John C. Malone'sWikipedia Liberty media empire (which in the UK also owns Virgin Media and 9.9% of ITV); Cole is a director of and on the board of Liberty Global.[7] The libertarian Malone is known for his support of right wing causes, including Donald Trump, to whom he donated in 2017, and the Cato Institute, whose board he has served on.[8][9]

Those investing money include:

  • Discovery, the TV group with links to Malone and Liberty.[10] (Now part of merged media group Warner Bros Discovery and reportedly planning to sell its stake.[11])
  • Legatum, a private equity firm based in Dubai.[10] It has links to Legatum Institute, a right-wing think-tank based in Mayfair, London, which was a prominent advocate for a hard Brexit.[12]
  • Paul Marshall,Wikipedia a hedge fund manager who formerly had links to the Lib Dems (in the right-wing, Orange Book faction), but supported Brexit and donated to Michael Gove's Conservative party leadership bid.[13][10] He also created right-wing opinion website UnHerd.[12]
  • Michael Farmer,Wikipedia a commodities dealer and hedge fund manager who became a Tory peer and former Conservative party treasurer.[10]
  • Michael Spencer,Wikipedia a City trader and another former Tory treasurer.[10]

Executives include the CEO Angelos Frangopoulos, formerly of Sky News Australia, and John McAndrew of the local Sky News.[7] McAndrew, the director of programming, had a long career in mainstream TV reporting including for Sky News and Euronews, but quit GB News in July 2021 after reported differences over editorial direction.[14]

It is headquartered in Paddington, London.[3]

In August 2022, Discovery announced that it was planning to sell its stake in GB News, as part of a series of divestments following Discovery's merger with Warner Media.[11]

According to Byline Times, "all of GB News' major shareholders are based outside of the UK".[15] It's unclear how its international ownership and London HQ square with promises to report on the whole of the UK and focus on British people's interests.[16]


  • Andrew Neil.Wikipedia Hired to be the central figure on-screen, until recently a BBC presenter, and formerly editor of the Sunday Times and editor-in-chief of The European (RIP) and The Scotsman. He presented 8 episodes of a nightly news program, with trolling segments entitled Wokewatch and Mediawatch.[3] He then quit, blamed on a combination of technical issues and disputes behind the scenes.[17] Despite claims to be standing up for Britishness, Neil's primary residence is in France.[10][12]
  • Colin Brazier,Wikipedia former Sky News presenter.[3]
  • Michelle Dewberry,Wikipedia former contestant on TV program The Apprentice.[3]
  • Andrew Doyle,Wikipedia best known as satirical character Titania McGrath, is presenting a show.[16]
  • Simon McCoy,Wikipedia former BBC newsreader with apparently a cult following for his sense of humour; he presents features including a token "good news" story.[18]
  • Neil Oliver,Wikipedia TV historian.[3] He has attracted controversy for his defence of historian David Starkey who has made a series of dubious comments about black people and British history that could be taken as racist, as well as Oliver's own opposition to Black Lives Matter protests.[19][20]
  • Gloria De Piero,Wikipedia former Labour MP.[3]
  • Alastair Stewart,Wikipedia veteran newscaster with a long history on ITV.[3]
  • Alan Sugar,Wikipedia British businessman, TV presenter, and member of the House of Lords, who presented a show answering viewers' questions from a tent in his garden; The Guardian's TV reviewer noted that he "had nothing to declare but his ignorance".[16]
  • Dan Wootton,Wikipedia former Sun showbiz editor.[3]
  • Guto Harri,Wikipedia a journalist who later became Boris Johnson's spokesman as mayor of London and worked for Rupert Murdoch's News UK (owner of the Times and the Sun). He was taken off air on 16 July 2021 after expressing opposition to the racist abuse of black English footballers; he "took the knee" in solidarity and was vilified by viewers.[14]
  • Nigel Farage, the right-wing anti-immigrant politician, who was hired to try and bolster ratings and give the channel a more hate-filled direction.[21][22]
  • Eamonn Holmes,Wikipedia a presenter better known for cosy daytime TV, hired as a morning-show replacement for ex-newsreader Simon McCoy who quit in December 2021.[23]

It has reportedly tried and failed to hire Nick Ferrari,Wikipedia a broadcaster and journalist best known for his controversial show on LBC radio in London on which he has interviewed many senior politicians.[16]

Two weeks after the channel launched, Neil announced he would step down from the main evening bulletin and be replaced by Colin Brazier.[24]



Several presenters were critical of the lockdown against COVID-19, including Dan Wootton accusing Britain of being a "bio-security state copying China".[16] Wootton claimed lockdowns "have caused far more deaths and devastation than the government has ever admitted", although opinion polls show the British public generally supports lockdowns.[25]

Defence of people who have sex with underage girls[edit]

Lady Colin Campbell (a posh British woman who has made a career as an expert on posh people) appeared on the channel to discuss Prince Andrew and his friendship with sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. She sophistically argued that Epstein wasn't a paedophile but an ephebophile and claimed that Andrew was scapegoated to protect other clients with friends in higher places (higher than Buckingham Palace).[26]

Opposition to wokeness and political correctness[edit]

It has from the start made its (partly imaginary) enemy the forces of wokeness, formerly known as political correctness, with features such as Neil's Wokewatch.[12] had a focus on the idea that the police are more occupied in arresting people on Twitter and policing language than they are in tackling other crime.[27] One example is the criticism of sportspeople "taking the knee" as a protest against racism; this is part of a wider attempt to paint Black Lives Matter as dangerous extremists, but ignores the generally positive public sentiment towards Black Lives Matter.[15] This reached a new crisis in July 2021 after England's association football team lost the European Cup final and several black players were subject to racial abuse. Some on the station, notably Guto Harri, supported the players, but after Harri "took the knee" in solidarity, he was abused online by viewers and the station denounced his action as "unacceptable", with Harri being taken off air in response to the uproar from racist viewers.[14]

Climate change "skepticism"[edit]

Although it doesn't seem to have launched into all-out climate change denialism, GB News has suggested that the COVID lockdown was the result of secret environmentalist conspiracy by the British government to try and reduce emissions.[27] This ties in with a common right-wing conspiracy theory that environmentalism is all about the government imposing arbitrary controls on the population, because that's what evil big government does.


Stop Funding Hate[edit]

Anti-racism group Stop Funding Hate (no relation of Hope not Hate) has been campaigning to try and stop companies advertising with GB News, after previous campaigns against newspapers publishing lies about immigrants and refugees.[28]

TV critics[edit]

The Guardian was critical of the quality of the programs, noting that its supposed commitment to covering all Britain's regions was limited to some PR puffery about regional airports. Their critic judged that it lacked the personnel to generate sufficient controversy to attract viewers, as well as being frequently rather dull.[16]

In contrast, the Daily Telegraph praised its first night, despite noting that the "sound was often out of sync, one presenter suffered a microphone failure, Sir Alan Sugar disappeared one word into his interview and the sets looked as if they had been hastily cobbled together", calling the opening segment "vaguely North Korean", and criticising Wootton's lack of authority and trustworthiness. That was night one; the breakfast show was "unutterably awful; boring, repetitive and cheapskate."[1]

Its first night ratings peaked at 336,000, a lot more than other rolling news channels, but much lower than the main channels and their news broadcasts.[10] 52% of viewers were aged 65 or over, and 82% were from the ABC1 socio-economic groups (white-collar and professional).[10]

However, after only a few weeks by the end of June, the viewing figures have completely fallen off with the average viewership reaching 25 000, which in television circles is virtually zero.

Paul Marshall investigation[edit]

In February 2024, Hope not Hate alongside Lewis Goodall and Emily Maitlis of The News Agents revealed the details of a joint investigation into Paul Marshall'sWikipedia social media activity due to his rumoured bid to acquire The Spectator and The Telegraph, two giants of British media.[29] If successful, this acquisition would position Marshall as one of the most influential media owners in the country. The investigation uncovered disturbing patterns in Marshall's social media behaviour. Despite setting his Twitter account to 'Protected' mode in September 2023 and altering identifying information, Marshall continued to endorse and engage with far-right extremist content. The investigation revealed that Marshall had liked and retweeted content from far-right and conspiracy theorist accounts, endorsing sentiments such as calls for mass deportations and predictions of a looming civil war between "native Europeans" and "fake refugee invaders."[30]

Marshall's online activity included interactions with accounts known for promoting Islamophobia, anti-migrant rhetoric, and conspiracy theories. Notable among these were accounts like Britain First Deputy Leader Ashlea Simon, American anti-Muslim campaigner Amy Mek, and Italian anti-migration account Radio Genoa. Marshall's endorsements ranged from Islamophobic predictions of a European civil war to praising anti-Muslim figures like Geert Wilders and disseminating content demonising Muslim and migrant communities.[30]

Following the investigation's inquiries, Marshall removed nearly 300 likes and issued a statement through a representative. Marshall asserted that his account's contents were not reflective of his views and were merely a small sample of his overall social media activity. However, questions persist regarding his repeated endorsement of divisive and hateful content, especially considering his potential influence over significant media outlets.[30]

Not to be confused with...[edit]

Henry Bolton of UKIP founded an online thing called GB TV, but it has only put 3 videos online; this has nothing to do with GB News.[7]

See also[edit]

  • Fox News Which they deny being the British version of
  • TalkTV, a British rival
  • RT, where you could find the same talking points, just with fewer Union Jacks

External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Judith Woods and Chris Bennion, GB News launch, review: message comes through loud and clear – but the breakfast show bombs. Archived from The Telegraph, 14 June 2021.
  2. GB News: Runners and riders to become faces of new ‘anti-woke’ TV channel, from Dan Wootton to Rosie Wright, i News, April 27, 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 GB News in-depth briefing: International expansion and DAB radio launch planned, Press Gazette
  4. Rupert Murdoch's News UK TV channel given approval to launch, The Guardian, 1 Dec 2020
  5. 'Staggering levels of deference': What I learnt from watching TalkTV for a week, The Independent, 4 May 2022
  6. What’s the Difference Between Great Britain and the United Kingdom?, John M Cunningham, Britannica online
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Owner of Andrew Neil’s GB News in Awkward Conflict of Interest, Byline Times, 28 September 2020
  8. Here are Colorado's biggest donors to Trump's inauguration, BizJournals, 19 April 2017
  9. About Us, Cable Center
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 GB News launch gains more viewers than BBC or Sky news channels, The Guardian, 14 June 2021
  11. 11.0 11.1 Discovery sells GB News stake as directors resign in shake-up, The Guardian, 18 August 2022
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Andrew Neil: GB News, my war on woke and the problem with Piers Morgan, Evening Standard, 8 June 2021
  13. A Millionaire Who Funded Brexit Made a Killing as Carillion Crashed, Vice, 24 Jan 2018
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 GB News in crisis as exec quits and presenter is pulled for ‘taking the knee’, The Guardian, 16 July 2021
  15. 15.0 15.1 When Truth Matters More: The Case for Scrutinising GB News, Sam Bright, Byline Times, 14 June 2021
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 GB News review – Andrew Neil’s alternative BBC? Utterly deadly stuff, Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian, 13 June 2021
  17. Andrew Neil ‘almost had breakdown’ at GB News, The Guardian, 24 Sep 2021
  18. GB News: What’s on ‘anti-woke TV’? Full launch schedule and presenters for Andrew Neil’s new channel, i News, June 13, 2021
  19. Neil Oliver declares love for 'racist' historian David Starkey, The National, 2 July 2020
  20. BBC's Neil Oliver interview on racist statues draws criticism, The National, 13 June 2020
  21. GB News turns to Nigel Farage as its saviour after ratings freefall The Guardian 17 July 2021
  22. Struggling channel GB News hires Nigel Farage to host show Associated Press News 17 July 2021
  23. Simon McCoy becomes latest presenter to depart GB News, The Guardian, 10 Dec 2021
  24. GB News boss Andrew Neil takes leave from channel just two weeks after launch, The Mirror, 24 Jun 2021
  25. Susanna Reid questions GB News’ stance after show brands lockdowns a ‘crude measure’, The Metro, 14 June 2021
  26. ‘Epstein Wasn’t a Pedophile:’ How British Fox News Copycat’s Launch Turned Into a Disaster, The Daily Beast, 16 June 2021
  27. 27.0 27.1 GB News is no joke, despite the risible start, Nesrine Malik, The Guardian, 21 June 2021
  28. Andrew Neil sets out anti 'woke' vision for GB News as channel faces campaign for advertising boycott, Press Gazette, 8 Feb 2021
  29. EXCLUSIVE: Could The Telegraph be bought by a political extremist? | The News Agents.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Revealed: The Shocking Tweets of GB News Co-owner Sir Paul Marshall.