Days after the election win, the Conservative Party government has pulled its ministers from the BBC's flagship radio news show.
Just days after winning the U.K.'s general election, the Boris Johnson-led Conservative Party government has made moves that have alarmed media commentators who say they signal the prime minister's intentions to duck public scrutiny.
The government over the weekend pulled its ministers from the BBC's flagship Radio 4 news program Today, with sources telling papers that it planned to completely "withdraw engagement" from the show in the future.
The Conservatives pointed to what they considered a BBC bias against the party in the run-up to the election, in particular criticism of Johnson by its top political pundit Andrew Neil after he refused to be interviewed, and widespread coverage of a four-year-old boy who was forced to sleep on a hospital floor due to underfunding of Britain's National Heh Service. Johnson sparked outrage after he appeared to dismiss a BBC journalist trying to show him the picture of the boy.
In another perceived attack on the BBC, the Conservatives have hinted that they could severely impact the public broadcaster's main funding model by decriminalizing non-payment of the currently compulsory annual license fee that taxpayers get charged. The week prior to the election, Johnson questioned the license fee arrangement, saying that he was "certainly looking at it," while a minister on Saturday confirmed that they had been "instructed" to investigate the possibility of decriminalizing non-payment.
During the election campaign, critics from the other side of the political spectrum argued that the BBC had a bias in favor of Johnson and against the opposition Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn. For example, the broadcaster was forced to apologize after it edited out laughter from an audience when Johnson was asked about the importance of telling the truth and came under attack for putting Corbyn through an intense interview with Neil without having secured a time with Johnson.
The BBC's political editor Laura Kuennsberg has faced numerous calls to be sacked for tweets that critics said indicated bias towards the Conservatives. Days before the election, the BBC news website also came under fire for its coverage of research showing that 88 percent of the Conservative Party's online election ads contained false or misleading information compared to zero percent of Labour's, which simply came with the headline "Ads are 'indecent, dishonest and untruthful'."
If your reaction to a headline about Colin Jost possibly leaving SNL is, “but who will play Pete Buttigieg?” then I cannot help you. I don’t know, Jason Bateman? There, I tried. If you want to ponder what that might mean for Jost’s future and the future of the SNL Weekend Update desk, well, hello.
According to Variety, a proof of Jost’s new memoir, the hilariously titled, “A Very Punchable Face,” indicates that the 15-year show staffer and current co-head writer and co-anchor of Weekend Update may be looking for an exit after helping the show through what is sure to be a… let’s say eventful election cycle. The reason is to pursue new things. It’s at this time that I want to highlight Variety’s caveat that Jost’s exit is “neither certain nor imminent.” So there is no “no backsies” written into the book, basically.
Your opinion on Jost’s tenure behind the Update desk may vary, but he’s been a foundational piece of the show for a long time so it’s bound to shake things up if he leaves. For one thing, Jost’s exit removes the most prominent behind-the-scenes creative force in the show’s universe that might, someday, become the heir to Lorne Michaels’ executive producer role. Which… Lorne Michaels is going to live and work on SNL forever, or until he cracks a good Three Amigos 2 idea, so there’s probably no need to even speculate about someone ever replacing him. But still, there’s a minor bit of palace intrigue that comes attached to thoughts about Jost leaving.
The second thought is, of course, Update. Would they go all-in on Michael Che as the solo option? Pair him with an existing cast member or new recruit? Change things up entirely? The segment is an institution in and of itself and when its equilibrium is off, so too is the show’s, so a post-Jost Update desk would be a major question. Again, like him or loathe him, he fills a role.
As for what Jost would do post-SNL, that’s anyone’s guess. The book is an obvious effort to better define his personality away from his job and he has, in recent years, tried to put himself more out there. The Wrestlemania appearance, he’s got some kind of role in an upcoming Tom And Jerry movie. And let’s not forget his 2015 film, Staten Island Summer, that he wrote, pulling on nostalgia threads from his Staten Island youth.
For all the praise the show receives as a wellspring of talent, it also acts as a great fooler when it comes to our perception of what someone is capable of. It pulls so fully on people’s time, sucking seemingly every bit of creativity out of them to fuel this massive machine, giving us a very specific look at the kind of work that they can do. And then they go off and they create stuff like Barry Bill Hader or Shrill Aidy Bryant, who is, of course, still on the...
The BBC has announced plans to host a coronavirus telethon on April 23, bringing together its two charity partners, Comic Relief and Children In Need, for the first time.
Produced by BBC Studios, The Big Night In will go live for three hours on BBC One and aims to cheer up the nation by spotlighting stories of kindness, humor and hope during the catastrophic coronavirus pandemic.
Along the way, the show will invite donations which will go towards vulnerable people who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Comic Relief and Children In Need will funnel the cash to local charities on the frontline.
The BBC said the show would be star-studded, but is yet to name any famous names taking part. The broadcaster’s last telethon, Sport Relief, was hosted by the likes of Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness and featured contributions from the Stranger Things cast.
The BBC added that The Big Night In will be broadcast live while respecting “all current social isolating government protocols.” Peter Davey and Colin Hopkins will executive produce. It was commissioned by BBC director of content Charlotte Moore, entertainment chief Kate Phillips and Katie Taylor.
Moore said: “BBC One will bring the nation together for this special one-off live charity event. I would like to thank both BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief for joining forces in these unprecedented times to provide their support to local charities, projects and programmes across the whole UK; and to all of the stars taking part in this unmissable night of entertainment when the country needs it most.”
The BBC’s Big Night In follows similar plans in the U.S., where Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert will front One World: Together At Home across NBC, ABC and CBS on April 18. The event, which is curated by Lady Gaga, has been put together by social action platform Global Citizen and the World Health Organization.