British media bias against Brexit

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The BBC provided some anti-Brexit propaganda in their TV listings magazine “Radio Times” in 2018. In a preview for a documentary on a possible outcome of a flu pandemic (“Contagion! The BBC4 Pandemic”, BBC4, 22nd March 2018), the “Radio Times” reviewer DAVID CRAWFORD wrote: “Forget terrorism, nuclear apocalypse – or even Brexit – the greatest risk to British society, according to the Government, is a flu pandemic. But don’t worry, the BBC is here to help.”

To mark one year before Britain’s official exit from Europe in 2019, the BBC have been broadcasting numerous programmes on the subject in March 2018, and also some satirical ‘shorts’ on BBC Radio in between the main programmes. The comedy shorts were from the “Dead Ringers” comedy satirists, who as usual mocked Brexit and the Brexit Secretary of State DAVID DAVIS. But should this satire have been broadcast in between the main, advertised, programmes?

In the BBC1 one-off comedy “Comedy Playhouse: Static” (broadcast in 2017, 15th Sept) the protagonist’s parents have a “Brexit jar”, like a swear jar, when anyone mentions ‘Brexit’. The show was written by the well-known comedian/TV panellist ROB BECKETT (anti-Brexit) and SHAUN PYE, the latter a writer for numerous British mainstream comedy/satirical TV shows, and acted alongside RICKY GERVAIS in the sitcom EXTRAS. Pye has been a “Programme Associate” on the BBC satirical panel show “Have I Got News For You”.

The BBC jointly owns the TV Channel “Dave”, which has been airing in 2017 and 2018 the anti-Brexit, anti-UKIP, anti-Trump satirical show “Unspun With Matt Forde”, originally intended for BBC2. MATT FORDE was a pro-Tony Blair, Labour Party supporter but quit the party because he didn’t like the new leader Jeremy Corbyn. Forde has written for – and presented – mainstream TV and Radio comedy/satirical shows.

Although not the BBC, another British TV channel that is also a PUBLIC SERVICE PROVIDER is CHANNEL 5, which in March 2018 promoted itself with some curious adverts that could be a subtle dig at Brexit. The adverts (on TV and Radio) carried the theme “At Home On 5”, which was based on the old maxim ‘Home is where the heart is’, i.e. home is not a physical location like Britain. Various celebrities gave their views on what ‘home’ is, e.g. BEN FOGLE talked about a location that wasn’t his physical home, but felt like a spiritual home. “Wherever you are”, said the Channel 5 advert, “…you’re at home on Channel 5”. Channel 5 in 2018 was owned by VIACOM.

ITV4 (one of the ITV channels) aired a documentary in March 2018 on foreign footballers in the English Premiership (“Football’s Foreign Legion”, ITV4, 28th March 2018). Although a football documentary, at the end a few pundits spoke about the possible impact of Brexit. The ITV political commentator ROBERT PESTON said that the Premiership needed to be protected from Brexit: “…the drawbridge should not go up…I could make exactly the same argument about loads of other British industries…”

The ITV humorous clip show “You’ve Been Framed”, consisting of home videos of amusing events, is narrated by HARRY HILL who includes satirical comments, e.g. mocking Brexit. In the episode aired on April 7th 2018, there was a clip of a boat that caught fire by mistake due to fireworks being lit upside down. Hill commented: “In many ways this is a perfect analogy for Brexit.”

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