John Cleese to host new GB News TV show as he says BBC would have 'cancelled' him


    The actor and comedian, 82, created and starred in the classic sitcom Fawlty Towers and was one of the comedy troupe members behind surreal sketch show Monty Python, first aired by the corporation.

    But he said yesterday: “The BBC have not come to me and said, ‘Would you like to have some one-hour shows?’

    “And if they did, I would say, ‘not on your nelly’ because I wouldn’t get five minutes into the first show before I’d be cancelled or censored.”

    It’s not the first time the star has spoken out about cancel culture.

    He has previously described a ­“stifling” effect from political correctness on creativity – saying there is no such thing as a “woke joke”.

    On how he feels Monty Python would be received today, he said: “Well, the guy who was in charge of light entertainment about four years ago said he wouldn’t commission it now because it’s six white people, five of whom went to Oxbridge.

    “But the point was they made a programme that a lot of people liked.”

    John, who quit the UK in 2019 to be based in the US, added: “If people enjoy something, then the BBC should be making more of it.

    “And if people don’t enjoy something, they should probably be making less of it. But their job is to produce the best possible programmes.”

    Asked about how his new show with GB News came about, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “I don’t know much about modern television because I’ve pretty much given up on it. I mean, English television.

    “And then I met one or two of the people concerned and 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’.”

    Reflecting on whether free speech should extend to those spreading opinions and misinformation about matters such as public health, he added: “If there’s a factual response to something like that, then that should be made.”

    The series will air next year and will feature John in conversation with “his choice of guests on a wide range of areas that interest him”.

    Writer and comedian Andrew Doyle, who will produce the programme, said: “Like John, it will be far from predictable.”

    The actor’s fellow GB News hosts include ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage, former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes and Alastair Stewart of ITV News.


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