The government’s new briefing room has been roundly criticised since its first outing at the end of March, but it could have opened the door to new methods of multimedia mockery.
Comedian Matthew Highton discovered last night during a Boris Johnson’s press conference that a giant blue screen behind the PM’s pew allows filmakers to superimpose anything behind the government team.
He chose a medieval tyrant and an oppressive and bloodthirsty sorcerer named Vigo the Carpathian as a fitting person to stand in, although others suggested the Eye of Sauron would also be a good look.
Big thanks to Boris Johnson and the Tories for building a giant blue screen for their new briefing room, meaning it takes seconds to put anything behind them. For example Vigo the Carpathian. pic.twitter.com/WS1fr3S390— Matthew Highton (@MattHighton) April 5, 2021
“Stick like glue”
Johnson used the press briefing last night to announce that he plans to stick “like glue” to his plan for easing restrictions – despite scientific advisers warning it could create a wave of Covid infections akin to that seen during spring last year.
The Prime Minister confirmed shops, hairdressers and pub beer gardens will reopen from April 12 in England and urged the public against complacency when it came to obeying the rules.
Mr Johnson, setting out the move to the second step of the road map on Monday, said the shift was “fully justified by the data” and that he had seen “nothing” to make him think he would have to “deviate” from his intention to scrap all restrictions by June 21 at the earliest.
His comments come despite modelling from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) showing that, while stage two of the unlocking is unlikely to exert pressure on the NHS, the proposed changes for May and June when social mixing is set to be permitted again could cause hospital admissions to rise to levels seen during January’s winter peak.
£2.6 million briefing room
He made the announcement in the government’s new £2.6 million briefing room, which has received a mixed reaction since its first public outing.
Labour said “we were expecting something a bit more impressive” given the sums spent on the long-delayed project, while Ian Hislop slammed it on BBC’s Question Time, saying:
“It’s a metaphor for an entire year of Covid incompetence” and “a ridiculous amount of money” to spend while granting NHS workers a 1 per cent pay rise.