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What happened in John Cleese’s BBC Radio 4 interview?

The Monty Python star has become a major figure in the UK’s culture wars, and is a frequent critic of what he sees as abolition culture

Former Monty Python andawlty Towers star Cleese has joined “shock jock” TV after becoming a major voice in the culture wars. He is highly critical of what he describes as the abolition of culture and the awakening of values ​​in the British media.

But what did he say in an interview with Today on BBC Radio 4 – and what was Graham Norton’s response to the TV presenter? Here’s what you need to know.

John Cleese portrays himself as a champion of free speech (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

Who is John Cleese?

John Cleese, 82, is an actor and comedian. After attending Cambridge University in the early 1960s and becoming a member of the popular comedy communityootlights, Cleese landed roles and writing credits on the popular graphic show Therost Report.

Since 1969, he has been a member of the comedy troupe Monty Python. Over the next 14 years, the Pythons scored four BBC TV series and three feature films – Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, and The Meaning of Life. They also toured highly successful theater and arena performances.

John Cleese (first left) is best known for Monty Python (Image: Getty Images)

While being a Python, Cleese also co-wrote and co-wrote a comedy series about the BBC’s 1970s hotel,awlty Towers. The series is widely regarded as one of the greatest British sitcoms ever produced.

In the 1980s, Cleese focused on becoming a movie star. His most notable credits include Aish Called Wanda, a recurring role as “R” and then “Q” in Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond films, and another recurring role as an almost headless Nick in the early Harry Potter films.

The actor and comedian has also become increasingly vocal about politics in recent years. As a long-term LDP supporter, he walked away from the party after the Brexit vote in 2016.

He describes himself as a critic of the political right and an opponent of the “disastrous” Tory governments of Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. But he has also become a vocal critic of the so-called cancel culture of recent times.

John Cleese said Monty Python will not appear on the BBC at present (Image: Getty Images)

This interest in discussions about freedom of expression first emerged in 2020, when the popularawlty Towers episode ‘The Germans’ was briefly pulled from BBC-owned broadcasting platform UKTV via ‘Racist slurs’ and ‘old language’. It was later returned with a disclaimer.

In response, Cleese said in response, at the time: “If you put illogical words in someone’s mouth that you want to make fun of, you are not broadcasting their opinions, you are making fun of them.”

What happened in the BBC John Cleese interview?

In an interview with the leading news program on BBC Radio 4 today, John Cleese revealed that he has joined GB News and also reaffirmed his earlier criticisms of what he sees as abolition culture.

The actor and comedian will present a series you’ll see in conversation with what GB News said was his “choice of guests in a wide range of areas of interest to him”. The show, which will air from 2023, is produced by Andrew Doyle, current GB News host.

Doyle promised that the program would give Cleese “complete creative freedom” and would be “unpredictable.”

Asked by Today presenter Amol Rajan how GB News came to be, Cleese said, “I don’t know much about modern television because I’ve largely given up on it. I mean English television. Then I met one or two of the people involved and dined with them and liked it a lot.” .

“And what they said was, people say it’s a right-wing channel – it’s a free speech channel.”

John Cleese described GB News as a “freedom of speech” channel (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

When asked if he thought there was a limit to free speech, the comedian said, “Someone once said to me, ‘Everyone is for free speech, especially the ideas they like.'”

Pushed to clarify whether freedom of expression should be applied to people who spread opinions and misinformation on matters of public health, he added: “If there is a realistic response to something like this, then it should be done.

“That’s the job, to put the facts out there and then have slightly separate opinions and have a proper argument about it, but not to try to avoid a public debate and then try to get yourself through social media.”

Asked if he would do more programming for the BBC, which first aired Monty Python andawlty Towers, John Cleese said he wouldn’t.

“The BBC didn’t come to me and say, ‘Would you like some one-hour shows? And if they did, I’d say, ‘Not on your Nile’ because I won’t get five minutes from the first show before I get canceled or censored.”

Amol Rajan pointed out to Cleese that he was given 5 minutes on BBC 4 Radio during the interview and was not blamed.

Graham Norton said John Cleese was not canceled, but held accountable (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

John Cleese also thought how he felt Monty Python would be greeted by an audience from today. He said: “The guy who was in charge of light entertainment about four years ago said he wouldn’t order it now because they were six white people, five of whom had gone to Uxbridge. But the idea was that they put together a program that a lot of people liked.

“If people are enjoying something, the BBC should make more of it. And if people are not enjoying something, they are likely to reduce it. But their job is to produce the best possible programme.”

How did Graham Norton respond to John Cleese?

In response to former Monty Python star’s stance on free speech, BBC TV presenter Graham Norton told an audience at the Cheltenham Literaryestival that Cleese’s attacks on so-called “cancellation” culture demonstrated a misunderstanding of the UK media landscape.

In the comments I took Daily Telegraph On Tuesday (October 11), Norton said:[Cancel] is the wrong word. I think the word should be “accountability”.

“John Cleese was recently in public complaining about what you can’t say. It must be very difficult being a man of a certain age able to say what he has loved for years, and now suddenly there is some accountability.”

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