Joe Lycett's Appearance On New Laura Kuennsberg Show 'Did Not Display Bias', Says BBC Boss

The comedian pretended to be right wing as he delivered a sarcastic response to Liz Truss's appearance on the programme.
Joe Lycett during his appearance on the show.
Joe Lycett during his appearance on the show.

Joe Lycett’s controversial appearance on the BBC’s new flagship Sunday morning political show did not show the corporation has an anti-Tory bias, its director general has insisted.

Tim Davie was responding to Conservative complaints about the decision to book the comedian as a guest on ‘Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg’.

Lycett pretended to be “incredibly right wing” as he applauded Liz Truss’s appearance on the programme, shouting “You smashed it, Liz” after she was interviewed.

Appearing alongside former Number 10 aide Cleo Watson and Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry, he said: “You said earlier I’m not left or right. I know there’s been criticism in the Mail on Sunday today about leftie liberal wokie comedians on the BBC.

“I’m actually very right wing and I love it. I thought she gave great clear answers. I know exactly what she’s up to.”

As Kuennsberg attempted to get Joe to be serious for a moment noting that Truss pointed to a “big package of help coming this week to hep people pay their bills”, Lycett joked: “She was very clear what she said! I think we know exactly what’s going to happen. You’re reassured, I’m reassured, are you reassured?!”

His appearance led to a furious backlash, with the Daily Mail even putting it on their front page - prompting Lycett to joke that he was “off to the framers” so he could hang it on his wall.

At the digital, culture, media and sport committee this morning, Tory MP Steve Brine attacked the decision to have the comedian on the show.

He said: “He did this mock applause after Liz Truss left the interview chair, he was then immediately asked for his reaction and he said ‘she was the dregs of what they’ve got available and the backwash of the available MPs’.

“Now whatever your opinion ... for a brand new show, which really wants to get off to a good start, when you’re booking a pundit to go on, Joe Lycett is not an uncontroversial figure.

“How about a conversation before output where someone says ’you know what, a new show, new start, new term, let’s not book Joe because we know what Joes’s going to deliver.”

But Tim Davie hit back: “We can debate the merits of that particular booking - I don’t think it displayed BBC bias in the slightest. The audience saw it for what it was.”

He said that by yesterday, the BBC had only received 28 complaints about Lycett and added: “What I would say is Laura conducted herself as the BBC host in an exemplary fashion in a slightly difficult situation. We move on.”


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