GB News celebrates its first birthday today after it was launched to much fanfare on June 13th 2021.
The news channel made its debut on TV and online a year ago with a special programme hosted by its former chairman and veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil.
At the time Neil told viewers that GB News would cover “the stories that matter to you and those that have been neglected” and would deliver “a huge range of voices that reflect the views and values of our United Kingdom”.
He added: “GB News will not slavishly follow the existing news agenda. We are not a rolling news channel nor will we be providing conventional news bulletins. But on all of our programmes and platforms you will always know what is going on and what the country is talking about.
“GB News will not be another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of the media. It is our explicit aim to empower those who feel their stories, their opinions, their concerns have been ignored or diminished. We are proud to be British. The clue is in the name.”
But Neil only lasted a few weeks before walking out on the channel, later admitting that he almost had a breakdown working on its launch.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the former BBC presenter revealed he walked away from a £4 million contract, saying: “It was a big decision but I frankly couldn’t care if it was £40m. This would have killed me if I’d carried on.”
With that in mind, here’s a look back at the top 10 stories from the past year of GB News:
1. Steam trains getting cancelled
To kick-off, a story about steam trains getting “cancelled”, supposedly.
On an episode of ‘Woke Watch’, they claimed that a replica of the first steam-powered locomotive in Wales could be relabeled by the National Museum Wales (NMW) to highlight the slave trade’s links to “the development of the steam and railway infrastructure in Wales”.
Richard Trevithick’s locomotive was used in the first steam-powered rail journey, which took place at the Penydarren Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, in Wales in 1804.
The NMW determined links between steam train technology and the slave trade, claiming the use of the invention is “rooted in colonialism and racism”.
GB News interpreted that to mean that all steam trains were being cancelled, which is an extraordinary leap.
Read the report in full here.
2. The Churchill impersonator
Earlier this year, GB News invited a Winston Churchill impersonator onto the channel to mark the former prime minister’s funeral anniversary.
Churchill, who led the UK through the Second World War, was buried 57 years ago, aged 90.
But that didn’t stop the TV station’s hosts on Sunday to interview an impersonator of the ex-PM, called Stan.
Referring to Stan as Churchill, the GB News presenters said: “People say, oh gosh, if Churchill were in charge, if Churchill did that, why do you think there is still so much admiration for you?”
‘Churchill’ replied: “I think it’s probably because I was the right man at the right moment, I don’t think I could probably survive in the current climate, although I would give it a go, of course.”
3. ‘A barber gave me a horror cut’
A GB News TV producer was ruthlessly ribbed after he took to social media to complain that a barber deliberately gave him an “uneven hairline” after discovering that he worked for the news channel.
Christian Mitchell, an executive producer on the broadcaster, took to Twitter to post two pictures of a badly-finished hairline, with a crooked line at the top of his neck.
“I’ve just had a haircut end abruptly, leaving me with an uneven hairline after I said I worked for @GBNEWS,” he wrote.
“I won’t name the salon as that’s not fair to other professionals who work there but blimey, to take your politics out on someone’s hair!”
4. The National Anthem
In January, it was announced that GB News will play the national anthem every morning before the start of its live programming.
The channel will play God Save the Queen at 5.59am across their television and radio shows.
Editorial director Michael Booker said it was a “welcome addition to UK television in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.
“We always promised we would celebrate what’s good about our country when we can, and the Queen’s 70-year reign is definitely worth celebrating”, he said.
5. Vaccine sceptic doctor receives saucy WhatsApp
Hilarity ensued after a vaccine sceptic doctor received a saucy WhatsApp message during a live broadcast on GB News.
Dr Samuel White spoke to presenter Patrick Christys after a judge ruled that a tribunal made an “error of law” when it ordered him to stop discussing Covid on social media.
He said: “We should discuss what misinformation is in this age of scientism because who gets to decide that?
“Apparently it’s the fact-checkers”, he added, before questioning the government’s role and their “agenda”.
But as he was speaking a saucy WhatsApp message flashed up on the screen which read:
“As you rest just give a thought to using me for your pleasure. Having me on my knees doing whatever you say… xxx.”
6. ‘Let refugees drown’
A GB News host was widely criticised for an “extraordinary lack of empathy” after saying Border Force officials shouldn’t rescue refugees drowning in the English Channel.
Appearing on Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show alongside writer Jemma Forte, Nana Akua was discussing Priti Patel’s to give officers immunity from prosecution should migrants drown while crossing to the UK in small boats.
She said it was “fair enough” for British officials not to rescue drowning migrants, saying doing so would be supporting people trafficking.
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