Andrew Neil to host Sunday night political show on Channel 4

Live programme is Neil’s first major return to broadcasting following departure from GB News

Andrew Neil is to to host a new Sunday night political show on Channel 4, his first major return to broadcasting after an acrimonious departure from GB News, where he was the rightwing network’s lead presenter.

It marks something of a leftwards lurch by Neil – a former BBC broadcaster known for his conservative views – to a channel whose news programme he once described as the “broadcasting arm of the Guardian”.

The live 10-part series will air in May and has a working title of Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil, according to Channel 4, which said it would feature “set-piece interviews with the highest profile politicians and newsmakers”.

Neil – who spoke in September about coming close to having a breakdown while at GB News and believes “it would’ve killed me to carry on” due to the technical problems at the channel – said he was “honoured and delighted” to take on the new role.

He added: “Sunday night is a pivotal point in the political week – we can sweep up what’s happened in the previous week, mop up what’s been in the Sunday papers and talkshows and throw forward to the upcoming week. We’ll aim to do all of that and more.”

The half-hour weekly Sunday evening programme, whose time slot is still to be announced, will be produced by ITN Productions and Channel 4 News and will also be accompanied by a weekly podcast.

Neil, who is chairman and editor-in-chief of Press Holdings Media Group, the publisher of the Spectator and other titles, stepped down as the chairman and host of a primetime show on GB News last year after differences of opinion over the direction of the channel.

The former BBC host and one-time Sunday Times editor had been the face of GB News before it went on air in June last year but left after presenting only eight programmes in three months. He was unhappy with technical mistakes, the loss of top staff and its political direction.

Louisa Compton, Channel 4’s head of news, current affairs and specialist factual and sport, said: “Andrew’s new show will deliver big-name politicians answering the questions the public want to hear.”

Ian Rumsey, the managing director of television at ITN productions, said: “If ever there was a time when Britain needed forensic questioning, brilliant political insight and to hold those in power to account, it’s now. And there’s no finer broadcaster to do that.”

Neil has previously tweeted about Channel 4 News: “Not helped by holly oaks [sic] inheritance. I like it. Broadcasting arm of the Guardian. But I like its serious agenda. Plus foreign news. And I know enough to discount its biases. As do most of its educated viewers. I watch it a lot.”


Ben Quinn

The GuardianTramp

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