John Cleese urged fans that the solution was to “throw the BBC board out” in an explosive rant triggered by what some perceive to be censorship. Both Gary Lineker and David Attenborough are at the centre of dramatic debates focused on the channel – and the Fawlty Towers star didn’t hesitate to join the argument.
Taking to Twitter today in view of his 5.7 million followers, he reposted a thread about threats to freedom of speech, which referred to Gary being “forced to step down”.
“Throw the BBC board out. Replace them with people who want the BBC to make the best possible programmes for the British public,” he retorted.
He added that the channel had become a “pale shadow” of its former glory, in his eyes.
The rant comes hot on the heels of another comment the former Monty Python star made about leaving the BBC over his Fawlty Towers reboot.
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He’d disclosed his fears that he wouldn’t be given sufficient “freedom” to express his character in a world where “cancel culture” is so prevalent.
The thread John had responded to this morning, by tweeter @LouisHenwood, had blasted: “Gary Lineker forced to step down by #BBC board for criticism of the government’s incendiary language.
“#DavidAttenborough episode taken off live broadcast for criticism of environmental policy.
“This isn’t about impartiality. It is government censorship of progressive voices.”
The news about Gary being suspended, reportedly for refusing to apologise and agree to moderate his social media comments more closely, was released yesterday – and the nation has been in uproar ever since.
Gary had described the Conservative Government’s new policy against illegal immigration as “immeasurably cruel” and expressed his concerns that the language used harked back to “1930s Germany”.
However, the comments sparked a backlash from some who felt he was trivialising mass genocide and the murder by millions by the Nazis – including a prominent rabbi.
On the other hand, some agreed with him while many felt he should be entitled to share his opinion.
One of those was Jeremy Clarkson, who defended in his Sun column today that his opinion was “valid” despite the fact that “all of the people arriving in Kent have come from France which, last time I looked, is not a war zone”.
Jeremy has come under fire himself in recent weeks for his incendiary comments about Meghan Markle, after he clumsily referenced a Game of Thrones scene and told the world he’d like to see her paraded naked through the streets and “pelted with excrement”.
Meanwhile, others suggested of Gary that it was sinister to silence opinions that were critical of government policies, questioning whether the UK, which had previously prided itself on its freedom of speech, was set to turn into a dictatorship.
One tweeter responding to John’s post said that although he agreed with Gary, he didn’t believe he had been silenced.
“It’s relatively simple in that if he signs a BBC contract he is bound by those terms. He can always move to ITV or Sky,” @SimonBennett shrugged.
@DavidHu25795073 agreed: “This is about guidelines and terms and conditions of employment. Gary constantly pushed and manipulated them until he broke them. It’s his own fault…. He signed a contract and understood what he had to give up.”
However, @DangerouslyTal raged: “The Tories are trying to take [the channel] over and make it a far right echo chamber.”
Meanwhile, John Cleese recently revealed on GB News that he would not be bringing his Fawlty Towers remake to the BBC, due to how different he felt its culture had become.
“I wouldn’t get the freedom [now]. I was terribly lucky… working for the BBC in the late 60s, 70s and the beginning of the 80s,” he explained.
“That was the best time because the BBC was run by people with real personality who loved the medium!”
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