The key people moving to GB News and who else is rumoured to be joining them

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Tuesday 20 April 2021 08:57
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The arrival of GB News has been billed as the biggest news channel launch in the UK since Sky News more than 30 years ago but much about the project still remains unclear.

The channel, led by former BBC host Andrew Neil, has set itself up as a mixture of news, opinion, and debate, rather than rolling 24-hour news like BBC News or Sky.

That description has inevitably drawn comparisons to the polarising right-wing network Fox News, which consistently blurs the lines between news, opinions and outright misinformation – a comparison Neil has rejected.

The channel’s director of news John McAndrew has said that GB News will be “free, fair, impartial” and follow Ofcom rules, but there’s no doubt some recent recruitments suggest it may adopt a right-leaning stance.

Here’s what we know so far about the key names who will be working for the new channel…

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Andrew Neil

GB News’ chairman will also host a primetime hour-long programme at 8pm for four nights a week when the channel launches.

The show will apparently feature regular guests, such as Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott, as well as segments named “Wokewatch” and “Mediawatch”.

For a taste of what Neil might have planned, you can check out this odd song he shared on his Twitter profile last year:

Simon McCoy

The beloved newsreader caught many by surprise when he revealed that he would be stepping down from BBC News and joining GB News to present a rival show to the BBC’s Afternoon Live.

McCoy has become known for his dry comments and jokes on air, with moments from his broadcasts often going viral on social media.

Tom Harwood

As Guido Fawkes senior reporter, Tom Harwood has become one of the UK’s most prominent pro-Tory commentators, writing forThe Daily Telegraph and appearing on programmes such as BBC Newsnight.

He was announced as part of the channel’s political reporting team as a political correspondent, alongside Euronews political editor Darren McCaffrey as political editor.

Colin Brazier

Sky News journalist Colin Brazier announced in February that he would be leaving the broadcaster after more than 20 years to join GB News as the anchor for its daytime news, interview and debate programme.

At the time, he promised that the channel would “lend an ear to some of Britain’s marginalised and overlooked voices”.

Michelle Dewberry

The former Apprentice winner turned TV commentator will present a weekday evening show on GB News, with the aim of standing up for people who have been “left behind”.

Dewberry, who has previously appeared on Question Time and Sky News’ The Pledge, stood as a candidate for The Brexit Party in 2019 in her hometown of Hull.

Dan Wootton

The Sun’s executive editor became GB News’ first major signing earlier this year, when he announced that he would be joining the channel alongside a new twice-weekly column for MailOnline.

Wootton, who was known for his showbiz exclusives at the tabloid, broke the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from the UK last year.

He described the opportunity to join GB News as “just too good to pass up”.

Andrew Doyle

Writer and comedian Andrew Doyle was named as the host of a new weekly show called Free Speech Nation in March, which has been billed as a “lively, light-hearted look at current affairs”.

Doyle is known for creating the satirical character Titania McGrath - an attempt at mocking so-called “woke culture” - and for his writing in The Spectator, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail.

While the writer’s recent work appears to lean to the right of British politics, he has previously described himself as left-wing and claimed that he voted for Jeremy Corbyn in 2017.

Kirsty Gallacher

The veteran sports presenter recently left her role as the co-presenter of Soccer Aid to join GB News as a host on their breakfast show.

Gallacher who had also worked for Sky Sports for many years told the Daily Mail that she was “thrilled” to be joining GB News and that journalism is her “first love.”

She added, “We’re really challenging the status quo with a fresh approach to news and debate and at this point in my career it just feels like absolutely the right thing – and the best thing – to be doing. It’s a small team but it already feels like a family. Everyone’s piling in and doing a dozen jobs each. It’s incredible to be joining at the beginning and building something from scratch.”

Alastair Stewart

The former ITV news presenter has been confirmed as another addition to the line-up. He will host a weekend news and current affairs show.

Stewart stepped down from his role at ITV News in January last year saying that he made a “misjudgment which I regret”. A Twitter exchange, in which he quoted a Shakespeare passage, including the phrase “angry ape”, is thought to have led to his departure.

He said GB News is an opportunity to “challenge the groupthink”.

Stewart said: “GB News is a unique opportunity to broaden the spectrum, challenge the groupthink and shift away from a predictable agenda in news and debate.

“I can’t wait to get stuck in and tackle issues that really matter to people across the United Kingdom.”

He later added on Twitter: “Thank you so very much for all the kind words on my move to GB News. I could not be more excited.”

Neil Oliver

The broadcaster and author, known for programmes including Coast and A History Of Ancient Britain, will host a weekly current affairs and interview programme.

It will focus on “the people from all walks of life who make Britain great”, according to a statement from the channel.

Oliver said: “My career has always been driven by my fascination about people, whether it’s trying to understand ancient people through archaeology or living ones through journalism.

“Debate in this country has been stifled for so long that GB News feels like opening a window and letting in some fresh air, fresh perspectives and fresh voices.

“I never imagined my career would take this turn but I’m hugely excited that it has.”

Gloria De Piero

The former Labour MP, who left politics in 2019, will present a weekday afternoon programme on the new channel.

She currently presents the Gloria De Piero show and the Sunday political programme on Times Radio. She is the second figure GB News has poached from Murdoch’s media empire, after Dan Wootton was also announced in the line-up.

As MP for the Nottinghamshire seat of Ashfield for nine years, De Piero campaigned for Remain in a strongly pro-Brexit seat but did not support a second referendum and urged her party to accept the result of the Brexit referendum. She warned Labour was losing touch with its traditional “red wall” voters.

GB News says it is giving viewers an alternative to what it says is the “metropolitan”-led news agenda of the established channels.

In her journalism career, De Piero was political editor at GMTV and also worked as a researcher for political shows on ITV and BBC.

In a statement announcing the move to GB News, she her time as an MP “opened my eyes to the issues facing Britons today”. She added: “I’m passionate about bringing their stories to life at GB News, making sure every community is heard and reflecting Britain as it really is through grassroots journalism.”

If those names haven’t got you excited/terrified already, there is also a long list of rumoured signings who could soon join the channel, including: LBC host Nick Ferrari, talkRADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer and even Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel Johnson (although she has denied any plans to join).

The biggest rumoured name though is Piers Morgan, after the veteran presenter spectacularly quit Good Morning Britain earlier this month.

Neil was even asked recently about the rumours of a job for Morgan and gave a somewhat evasive answer…

He told ITV: “I think Piers would be a huge asset to [GB News] but I wouldn't want to transfer what he was doing for ‘Good Morning Britain’ straight to GB News. I would want to do something different…

“He is what he is but I think he's also adaptable. We'll try to come to a mutual agreement but he won't be short of offers, so no doubt there will be a bit of competition.”

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