Blog: James O’Brien reacts as Tory MP slams Brexit mention in EastEnders – LBC

James O’Brien reacts as Tory MP slams Brexit mention in EastEnders

7 September 2022, 14:00 | Updated: 7 September 2022, 15:31

James O’Brien’s disbelieving reaction after Tory MP Steve Brine challenged the BBC boss over a reference to Brexit in EastEnders.

Speaking to the BBC Director General Tim Davie in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford took umbrage over a scene in EastEnders where Brexit was likened to Covid.

According to Mr Brine, a self-confessed fan of the soap, took umbrage with a “get out of my pub moment.”

Longstanding character and pub landlord Sharon Watts (née Mitchell) told a pub-goer, “We’ve had Brexit and Covid, we don’t need you here.”

James was in utter disbelief: “This is Parliament! This is the House of Commons. The cost of living crisis is over there, energy bills over there.

“Someone’s spiked my tea with magic mushrooms.

“How do you respond to that sort of gibberish? Eastenders, a storyline in a soap opera, conveyed the idea that a fictional character thought Brexit was a bad idea.”

James imagined Mr Brine’s thinking: “That’s outrageous, so outrageous I’m going to dedicated time at the Select Committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to tearing a strip off the Director General of the BBC about the professed opinion of a fictional character in a fictional pub!”

James played the BBC Director General’s response: “Sharon is not the views of the BBC by the way, we can debate that at length. It’s important you get drama from different perspectives, different writers all of that.

“I don’t think – it depends on the context of that view and how it’s offered – I think that is a different example.”

James, almost speechless, reflected that the “Director General of the BBC had to say out loud in public to a serving politician ‘Sharon Watts does not convey the views of the BBC’.”

The MP also took exception to comedian Joe Lycett, whose appearance on Laura Keunssberg’s new Sunday politics show, where he emphatically praised Liz Truss in a way considered deeply sarcastic, left some Conservatives and commentators ruffled.

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