Betrayed By New Labour, Channel 4

by | Sep 12, 2004 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

Greg Dyke provided an insider’s view of the greatest political scandal of modern times, which exposed the fraudulent, bullying tactics of a mendacious government.

What to say if you didn’t like it

Greg Dyke indulged in the tantrum of a puerile geriatric whose faint, querulous bleating was only barely audible from the cavernous depths of his own self-pity.

What was good about it?

• Greg Dyke’s unswerving determination to right the perceived wrong of his effective dismissal from the BBC for daring to stand up to the government.

• A replay of the fierce interview between an incandescent Alastair Campbell and the calm Jon Snow, where Campbell raged at the BBC for calling the government liars (though he seemed more driven by a selfish need to clear his own name).

• That Dyke’s biased presentation of the facts meant that the odious Campbell was hoist by the same petard that he vindictively employed to rubbish any voice that spoke out against himself or Tony Blair.

• The insight into the falsely flattering correspondence that darted between Downing Street and the BBC, where the rants of sanctimonious anger from Campbell were tempered by deceptively benign missives from Blair.

Alastair Campbell was constantly referred to like a vicious wild dog, with Dyke requesting to Blair that his then press secretary be kept “under control”.

• Dyke took justified pleasure in the excruciating yielding to the government of the obsequious BBC governors who apologised after the Hutton Report.

• The irony of notorious philanderer Robin Cook’s discomfort at the phrase “sexed-up”.

• When Blair was defending the government’s conduct after the Butler Report in the Commons, a tuft of his hair looked appropriately like a gushing oil well.

What was bad about it?

• It sometimes came across like a reader’s letter of complaint to The Guardian.

Greg Dyke’s manner of employing the same selective display of the events of the dispute and his own image within the BBC was worthy of his nemesis Alastair

Campbell’s spin-doctoring. In the BBC canteen, Dyke was seen bring pally with everyone from the diners to the spuriously common staff.

• Dyke’s return to the BBC was like David Brent’s return to The Office after his sacking, where Dyke remarked on the new headquarters that he had approved “with a

few others”, while he also bemoaned the messy state of his former office.

• Dyke only sought the opinions of those favourable to him, such as his fellow BBC scapegoat Gavyn Davies, dissenting MP Robin Cook and journalist Peter Stothard. He did seek the contentious view of David Aaronovitch (who averred Dyke should have acted more prudently), but this seemed a very un-BBC like trait of a token opposing perspective.

• Dyke’s feelings of guilt over the suicide of Dr David Kelly were skated over with too much haste given the late scientist’s pivotal role in the quarrel.

• When reviewing the emails he received after his resignation, he seemed as though he were a crucified Jesus informing his disciples he was only going to last a little while longer and if they wanted to declare their undying devotion could they please hurry up. Of course, Dyke too had his own Judas who told him where to go.

• Dyke’s appropriation of the Butler Report, that criticised the government’s decision to go to war, as gospel truth while utterly dismissing the damning Hutton Report as one huge lie was typical of the same governmental policy the BBC had vilified that had

caused the whole conflict in the first place.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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