Andrew Neil criticises BBC’s ‘moderate centre-left’ bias
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The Scottish broadcaster is among the nation’s most feared and respected interviewers. Neil fronted some of the BBC’s leading political shows before he left the corporation last year, after serving there for 25 years. The 71-year-old is due to return to screens as a part of the all-new GB News line-up.
Many await the network’s debut after it promised to shake up the media landscape with features including a “woke watch” – to call out politically correct messaging.
It has been speculated that Piers could join the channel’s roster after he stormed off Good Morning Britain earlier this month and subsequently quit.
The TV star has already been approached by Neil, who said he would be a “huge asset” to their programming.
Neil told the BBC: “We would certainly be delighted to talk to him if he is up for it.”
Piers and Neil have been friends for more than two decades and have often been pictured together at the same parties.
The former GMB star said “editors should be like” Neil and seemed to replicate his “loud, opinionated” and unafraid style on TV.
Piers’ praise was revealed in his 2005 book, The Insider: The Private Diaries Of A Scandalous Decade.
When he was editor of the News Of The World, he told media mogul Rupert Murdoch that Neil’s boldness allowed him to “set the news agenda all the time”.
Mr Murdoch was described as having “pondered” the point for “a few seconds” before he dismissed the idea.
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He said: “Nah, editors should be anonymous and let their papers do the talking.”
Piers admitted that he “didn’t agree” with Mr Murdoch’s take on editors and appeared to channel Neil’s fighting spirit in TV appearances.
Recently, Piers fanned the flames of speculation after Neil admitted GB News would be interested in acquiring him on the channel.
An insider told the Daily Mirror that Piers was in the middle of a £10million bidding war between GB News and Mr Murdoch’s TV empire.
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In response to the claims, the star tweeted: “Only 10?”
Neil has been a long term supporter of Piers’ career, including after he was sacked from the Daily Mirror in 2004 for publishing fake photographs from the Iraq War.
In The Insider, Piers said Neil gave “unlikely support” and praised him in a column for the Evening Standard.
Piers wrote: “He said that whether the pictures are fake or not I will survive because the story behind them is true.”
In Neil’s column, he concluded: “He is an editor with more lives than a cat.”
After the comment, The Sun’s former editor Rebekah Brooks “biked around a talking toy cat” to mock Piers.
In response, he wrote: “Ho, ho, ho!”
The TV star’s ability to bounce back has been praised a number of times and led to him earning the nickname “Teflon Piers”.
In a recent Insider article, they claimed Mr Murdoch once said: “His balls are bigger than his brains.”
Neil has often championed Piers and, on Twitter, paid him a number of compliments.
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One of the most notable was after Piers jokingly said he was “baffled” to not receive a New Year’s honour from the Queen.
In response to the 2013 tweet, Neil wrote: “It’s only to your credit. Do you see the sort of people who get them?”
The pair publicly have also discussed plans to meet up online, including one from Neil in 2014, where he wrote: “When am I gonna see u (sic)?”
In response to Neil’s claims about having a busy schedule, Piers replied: “Work is so over-rated (sic). Have fun, Maestro!”
Speculation continues about Piers’ plans for the future but many suspect a move to GB News could be on the cards.
The cosy relationship between Neil and Piers could play a deciding factor in whether the star moves to the new broadcaster.
Earlier this month, Neil told This Morning: “I think he could be a huge asset to our channel if we could get him.
“We will try and do so and see if we can come to some sort of mutual agreement.”
Piers Morgan’s 2005 book The Insider: Private Diaries From A Scandalous Decade was published by Ebury Press. It’s available here.
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