Andrew Neil rages out at BBC’s handling of his exit ‘What they did was unnecessary’

Andrew Neil and Nicola Thorp clash on Snow White kiss

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Andrew Neil announced his departure from the BBC in September 2020 after the broadcaster decided to cancel The Andrew Neil Show. The politics show was taken off air during the pandemic and BBC Two later announced it wouldn’t return to its schedule amid cuts. Andrew, who is the chairman of GB News, has since opened up on his sudden departure from the broadcaster and his new venture.

Last year, Andrew addressed his Twitter followers and wrote: “With a heavy heart I announce I will be leaving the BBC. 

“Despite sterling efforts by new DG to come up with other programming opportunities, it could not quite repair the damage done when Andrew Neil Show cancelled early summer and Politics Live taken off the air.

“But I leave with no animosity or desire to settle scores. I look back on my 25 years doing live political programmes for the BBC with affection.”

In an interview before he departed the BBC, Andrew admitted that he felt “surplus to requirements”.

Read more: ‘Stop wasting my time! Andrew Neil shuts down Twitter user

Speaking now, the journalist revealed he would not have become chairman of GB News had the BBC shown him more loyalty. 

“What they did was unnecessary and I left with a heavy heart,” he said. 

“There was almost no contact with me whatsoever, which did rankle, but what’s done is done. 

“I have not dwelt on it. I must be the only presenter on the BBC who has stepped down and not rushed in and given them a kicking.”

“I’ve not done that and don’t intend to. I’ve no fight with the BBC,” Andrew added.

The GB News chairman went on to reveal where he hopes to pick up viewers for the new TV channel. 

He expects to take viewers from Sky and the BBC but mostly believes people who have stopped watching news programmes will tune in.

Andrew explained he sees GB News offering something different for viewers and will reflect a wider range of beliefs than is currently being shown on TV.

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“I think we need to give them a fresh voice – if not speaking up for them, at least giving them a fair hearing,” he told Radio Times.

Andrew’s new media venture will launch on June 13 and will see the journalism veteran present a nightly news programme. 

This news show will contain segments such as “Wokewatch” and “Mediawatch”.

Ahead of its launch, it’s been tipped as the UK’s answer to Fox News.

Andrew has denied this is the case and confirmed GB News will conform to Ofcom rules on impartiality. 

However, he has revealed the new channel will be similar to American broadcasters by not following a rolling news format. 

The channel plans to air 6,500 hours of television a year and will provide streaming services. 

GB News’ morning show, The Great British Breakfast will include former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, Darren McCaffrey, Rosie Wright and Rebecca Hutson.

GB News will launch on June 13 on Freeview and YouView on channel 236 and on Freesat channel 216. Its Sky and Virgin Media channel numbers have yet to be announced. 

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times, out now.

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