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


Channel 4’s former news chief OROTHY BYRNE says ‘the fight is on’ to save the network after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries last night announced privatization plans.

Byrne told the Londoner: “Nadine Dorries doesn’t understand Channel 4. She told the parliamentary committee she was dependent on public funding. Absurdity. Now she says it can’t compete with Netflix and Amazon. That’s not what he’s here to do. He’s there to do great programs like Channel 4 News that none of them could do. She added that “a considerable percentage of Tory MPs” believe in saving Channel 4.

Byrne was at the center of a few 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 MacTaggart lecture in 2019.

Senior Conservative MPs have already weighed in on the privatization movement. 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 is a solution seeking a problem.

Never give up Rick and roll…

Rick Asley

/ 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 views on YouTube. “I don’t want to be rude and bring money in there,” he says, before adding, “But I like bringing money in there because I’m fucking grateful…it’s is paid for me to have a good life.” He also revealed on the Rockonteurs podcast that the RickRoll – where netizens get tricked into a video interrupted by Astley’s hit – could have had a chunkier name: “Thank God your name isn’t Dick”, the host said. Astley replied, “It’s my friends, but let’s not go.”

No price to be a minister

James Cleverly (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

/ PA wire

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

The memory of Sienna’s missing case…

Sienna Miller (Victoria Jones/PA)

/ PA wire

SIENNA MILLER has said in interviews that playing a wronged woman on her new show Anatomy of a Scandal took her back to an “ugly familiar space” in 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 high-profile affair with his children’s nanny. Miller might be forgetting another one of her high-profile relationships, with married actor Balthazar Getty. He eventually returned to his own wife Rosetta.

We are family: a big night for Dench

© Nick Harvey 2022

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


Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne (AP)

Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne has responded to voters complaining about rising heating bills, telling them he had no central heating as a youth. “My grandparents didn’t have a refrigerator because they didn’t need it… We all wore warmer clothes. Those days can come back,” he wrote on a blog post. An infallible winner of the votes.

RISHI SUNAK’s announcement of the Treasury’s first NFT – non-fungible token – did not go down well with British politics. Alison McGovern, Labor MP for Wirral South, is in despair: ‘The people of Wirral have constantly demanded… Oh wait.’ Maybe we can use NFT to heat our homes – somehow.


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