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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Londoner’s Diary: Byrne says Dorries ‘doesn’t understand’ Channel 4

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OROTHY BYRNE, Channel 4’s former head of news, has said the “the fight is on” to save the network after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced privatisation plans last night.

Byrne told The Londoner: “Nadine Dorries doesn’t understand Channel 4. She told the parliamentary committee that it relied on public funding. Nonsense. Now she says it can’t compete with Netflix and Amazon. That’s not what it’s there to do. It’s there to make great programmes like Channel 4 News which neither of them could make.” She added that “a considerable percentage of Tory MPs” believe in saving Channel 4.

Byrne was at the centre of some fierce rows with the Government before stepping down in 2020 and called Boris Johnson, with whom she is pictured inset, a “known liar” in a controversial 2019 MacTaggart lecture.

Senior Tory MPs have already laid into the privatisation move. Former minister Damian Green told us: “I believe in diversity in the media, and selling Channel 4 to another media company or a hedge fund will reduce that diversity. It’s a solution looking for a problem.”

Never give up the Rick and roll …

Rick Astley

/ Luca Teuchmann / Stringer / Getty Images

RICK ASTLEY is the opposite of bashful when it comes to the impact of his hit Never Gonna Give You Up, which has a billion YouTube views. “I don’t want to be crass and bring money into it,” he says, before adding: “But I like bringing money into it because I’m f***ing grateful … it’s paid for me to have a great life.” He also revealed on the Rockonteurs podcast that the RickRoll — where internet users are pranked with a video that is interrupted by Astley’s hit — could have had a ruder name. “I just thank God your name isn’t Dick,” the host said. Astley replied: “It is to my friends, but let’s not go there.”

No prizes for being a minister

James Cleverly (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

/ PA Wire

BEING a minister isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. James Cleverly, inset, revealed last night: “I was the World Cup minister, I doing all the work with the Qataris getting all the security arrangements sorted out, and then I got reshuffled.” Awkward timing, he told Matt Forde as the two enjoyed a few cans of Guinness on stage at the Duchess Theatre for a live recording of podcast The Political Party. Now, Cleverly laughed, “I can’t even get World Cup tickets”. Enough to make one give up.

Sienna’s missing affair memory …

Sienna Miller (Victoria Jones/PA)

/ PA Wire

SIENNA MILLER has said in interviews that playing a wronged wife in her new show Anatomy of a Scandal took her back to an “ugly space that’s familiar” from her personal life. Miller’s character’s husband James is accused of, among other things, having an affair. Miller was with Jude Law when he had a highly publicised affair with the nanny of his children. Miller could be forgetting another of her high-profile relationships, with married actor Balthazar Getty. He eventually went back to his own wronged wife Rosetta.

We are family: a big night for Dench

© Nick Harvey 2022

THREE generations of Denches were out in the West End last night. Dame Judi gave a dinner at restaurant J. Sheekey, sharing secrets from her illustrious career. Tickets for the Moët & Chandon event were £150 and included a three-course meal. She was supported by her daughter, fellow actor Finty Williams, and grandson Sam Williams. Sam and Dame Judi are close: she regularly appears on his TikTok channel and took him to the Oscars last month.

SW1A

Conservative MP Sir Desmond Swayne (PA)

TORY MP Sir Desmond Swayne has replied to constituents complaining about rising heating bills, telling them he had no central heating in his youth. “My grandparents didn’t have a fridge because they didn’t need one …  We all wore warmer clothes. These days may come again,” he writes on a blog. A surefire vote-winner.

RISHI SUNAK’s announcement of the Treasury’s first NFT — non-fungible token — has not gone down well in British politics. Alison McGovern, Labour’s Wirral South MP, despairs: “The people of the Wirral have been constantly demanding … Oh wait.” Perhaps we can use the NFT to heat our homes — somehow.

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