Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Tower Block Of Whoppers

Since the announcement by arguably over-promoted Culture Secretary (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries that Channel 4 was to be sold off, the impression has been given that the move had more to do with satisfying her vindictive streak and less to do with commercial sense. The broadcaster’s latest internal investigation only serves to reinforce that impression.

We already had the implicit admission by Ms Dorries that a disobliging but off-duty remark by the channel’s long-serving presenter Jon Snow had counted against them in her reckoning; then the Guardian reported thatIt emerged on Tuesday that the DCMS had tried to intervene to alter the wording of Channel 4’s annual report to fit its privatisation plans for the broadcaster”. Now has come news about another Dorries claim.

She had appeared before the DCMS select committee and claimed, apropos her participation in Channel 4 reality show Tower Block Of Commons, that the members of the public with whom she and other MPs had interacted were, in fact, paid actors, which would have made the show a fake. The Guardian again: “She told parliament she believed the hosts were planted by the show’s producers. ‘I discovered later they were actually actors’ she told MPs”.

She went on “The parents of the boys in that programme actually came here to have lunch with me, and contacted me to tell me, actually, they were in acting school, and that they weren’t really living in a flat, and they weren’t real. And even, if you remember, there’s a pharmacist or somebody that I went to see who prepared food - she was also a paid actress as well”.

At this point, the words of Gordon Brown to Damian McBride - “don’t. It’s the lie that gets you” - come readily to mind. Back to the Guardian. “The broadcaster asked the producers of the 2010 reality show Tower Block of Commons, in which Dorries was one of a number of MPs who went to live in deprived communities, to investigate the claims she made to the culture select committee in May”. The conclusion was not favourable to Ms Dorries.

The investigation “involved speaking with many of those involved in the making of the series, including contributors and crew, and retrieving and reviewing relevant documentation and footage, including 85 hours of raw footage filmed for the series. Neither Love Productions’ investigation nor Channel 4’s internal inquiries revealed any evidence to support the allegations made about the programme”. Oh dear, O Fragrant Nadine!

Also, “On Friday, Julian Knight, the chair of the DCMS select committee, said that it had asked Dorries for a response to the findings of the investigation … The committee has written to the secretary of state on this matter and invited comments from her as a matter of urgency. Now that Channel 4 and Love Productions have concluded the investigation, we look forward to receiving the secretary of state’s response, which we will then publish”.

That does rather depend on Ms Dorries being retained as Culture Secretary by whoever succeeds alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, which may not happen. But her reputation for being economical with the actualité has been reinforced, and it should be borne in mind that there had been a rather more immediate response to the claims she made.

Labour MP Rupa Huq, whose constituency includes the eponymous tower block, said this in the Independent in May. “Life in South Acton is tough for many and concerningly, I’ve had two separate emails from past constituents (now moved on) claiming that their group of pals who participated in the show were 100 per cent genuine, including ‘the boys’ Dorries referred to in our committee as being ‘drama school students’”. Oh dear once more!

Ms Dorries had already been criticised for smuggling a £50 note into the flat where she spent some time during the series. The impression is given that she was portrayed by the show in a less than ideal light and bore a grudge about it as a result. Also, being a Tory Brexiteer, it’s always someone else’s fault. One thing, though, is not a matter of mere impression.

It is looking more and more as if the decision to sell off Channel 4 was made by a bad faith actor as part of a personal vendetta. So the least that should now happen - and it should be on the desk of whoever replaces Bozo on day one - is that the sell-off of Channel 4 should now be abandoned.

This kind of behaviour is what causes any residual trust in politics and politicians to vanish, never to return. And that’s not good enough.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at



Anonymous said...

Soon to be Lady Dorries if the graun is to be believed.

Mr Larrington said...

TV's Cathy Newman was speculating about Mad Nad being honoured in Bloody Stupid Johnson's leaving list. “Hahahahahaha!” said La Dorries, doing nothing to dispel the rumour that her worldview is increasingly clouded by a fug of Prosecco fumes.

Anonymous said...

A strange, lying, cold woman.

Even by tory "standards".

Anonymous said...

Why would you privatise a venture that returns a considerable profit other than to neuter it?


Under New Fuck Up said...

The Tory excuse for them closing the Remploy workshops for disabled people was that they weren't making a profit. Now, they hope to close a publicly owned asset that is making a healthy profit.
I suppose it fits in with the unwritten Tory motto: If it ain't broke, break it.

Arnold said...

Not forgetting.


iMatt said...

Madine Dorries. A simple-minded disgrace.