Andrew Neil pledged his new 24-hour news channel will tackle cancel culture and will not be ‘yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset’ as it launched at 8pm tonight.
GB News, which is aiming to reach those who feel ‘unheard’ by the media, launched at 8pm tonight with a special programme titled Welcome To GB News.
It is the first new British news network in 24 years – since BBC News 24 launched in 1997. Although foreign channels have launched in the UK in that time, such as Al Jazeera English, this is the first new network specifically for UK audiences.
It has brought in big names ahead of its launch, including signing Simon McCoy, Sky News anchor Colin Brazier and new MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton.
Neil, who will present a show four nights a week, is the face and chairman of GB News, announcing its birth last year while also signalling the end of his relationship with the BBC, where he was one of the most respected political interviewers.
At 8pm, as the channel launched, he gave a five minute introduction for viewers, saying the network would concentrate on ‘the stories that matter to you and that others are neglecting’.
He added: ‘We are committed to covering the people’s agenda, not the media’s agenda.
‘GB News will not be yet another echo chamber for the metropolitan mindset that already dominates so much of the media.
‘We are proud to be British, the clue is in the name, and while we will never hold back from covering our country’s many flaws and problems… we won’t forget what the B stands for in our title.
‘We will puncture the pomposity of our elites… and expose their growing promotion of cancel culture for the threat to free speech and democracy that it is.’
Seasoned broadcaster Andrew Neil had sidestepped early teething trouble when presenter Neil Oliver’s microphone failed, and later returned to Mr Oliver, joking about the minor hiccup.
Global media and entertainment company Discovery, Inc is the lead investor. GB News will feature more than 6,500 hours of content a year, made exclusively for the channel, which has secured broadcasting licences from Ofcom.
It has been founded by media executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider. They plan for the channel to reach 96% of British television households via Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media.
Other names to feature on air include former Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher, Darren McCaffrey and Rosie Wright, who will host morning show The Great British Breakfast, while also working on other programmes.
It will be available to watch in HD on Sky channel 515 and Virgin Media’s channel 626, as well as also showing on Freeview and YouView channel 236, Freesat channel 216 and online.
The news channel, launched as a rival to the news and current affairs offerings on the likes of BBC and Sky, has also signed up businesswoman and former Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry.
The launch came after the BBC was accused of a last-minute ‘ambush’ of GB News. The national broadcaster was alleged to have been calling for the new station to be barred from accessing footage of public events which is available via a ‘pooling’ system run by the UK’s three main broadcasters.
The pool is made up of the BBC, Sky News and ITN, which produces the news operations of both ITV and Channel 4.
But A BBC spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We are very happy for GB News to be part of the pool and we are happy to discuss how that could happen.’
Broadcaster and author Neil Oliver, known for programmes including Coast and A History Of Ancient Britain, will host Neil Oliver Live, while Andrew Doyle will host Free Speech Nation.
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