GB News has had a rocky few days.

After viewing figures plummeted to zero for some shows, thanks to a boycott prompted by one host’s televised taking of the knee, the channel has struggled to keep anyone happy.

The liberal left were already exasperated by its self-styled “anti-woke” agenda and perceived hypocrisy – one minute saying it was staunchly anti-racism, the next saying taking the knee was an “unacceptable breach of its standards” – while the right were furious by its perceived “virtue-signalling”.

So, its executives must have asked, how to get the network back on track? Give Nigel Farage his own prime time slot, of course.

Yesterday, the former Brexit Party leader celebrated the launch of his programme, which will air Monday-Thursday at 7pm, by cheersing a pint in the GB News studio alongside senior Tory Sir Graham Brady.

Farage raised a glass of India pale ale to his guest before taking a sip, declaring: “Excellent,” and optimistically boasting: “Now that should get the puritans screaming.”

The hour-long show also featured he channel’s political correspondent Tom Harwood, who broadcast live from anti-lockdown protests in Downing Street and didn’t quite get the reception he’d have hoped for.

As he kicked off his report, a furious activist popped up behind him and subjected him to a blistering critique of the media who she branded “scum” and other unrepeatable insults.

So, all in all, it wasn’t totally smooth sailing.

But don’t take our word for it, here’s what viewers made of its all, starting with the critics:

There were, nonetheless, plenty of fans, some of whom suggested Farage might be the man to “save” GB News.

Others, including left-wing pundits and politicians, admired Harwood’s composure after he was verbally attacked:

The episode came just hours after it emerged that presenter and political commentator Guto Harri had quit the channel owing to the taking the knee fallout.

According to the BBC, the journalist and former advisor to Boris Johnson decided to leave the channel after he was suspended following a viewer backlash over his actions.

Last week GB News apologised after Harri made the gesture on air in response to the abuse suffered by members of the national side following their loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

In the statement, the channel said: “[We] stand four square against racism in all its forms. We do not have a company line on taking the knee.

“Some of our guests have been in favour, some against. All are anti-racist. We have editorial standards that all GB News journalists uphold.

“On Tuesday a contributing presenter took the knee live on air and this was an unacceptable breach of our standards.

“We let both sides of the argument down by oversimplifying a very complex issue.”

Writing in the Sunday Times, Harri said: “I joined, part-time but with an ongoing commitment, because I liked and trusted those in charge and supported the broad vision.

“But the channel is rapidly becoming an absurd parody of what it proclaimed to be.

“Rather than defending free speech and confronting cancel culture, it has set out to replicate it on the far right.”

On Saturday it was announced that Farage would present a daily show for the network.

The former Ukip and Reform UK leader said he “will not be taking the knee for anyone on this show” in a video announcing the news.

No, but he might topple over if he begins every episode with a few pints in his “parliament pub”.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)