Katherine Ryan: Alternative Election Night on Channel 4 will be impartial
Katherine Ryan has promised that Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night coverage will be impartial while offering an extra element of fun that rival broadcasts will not have.
The stand-up star has also defended herself against comments that she should not talk about British politics because she is a Canadian, saying that she has a right to get involved as a British resident and taxpayer.
Ryan is part of the presenting team for the channel’s overnight live reporting of the results of the General Election along with Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Rylan Clark-Neal, as well as a raft of political and comedy guests, as they “tell the dramatic story as it unfolds with top-class analysis and some much-needed laughs”.
Ryan dismissed prior criticism that the programme may be left-leaning and anti-Brexit.
She told the PA news agency: “It’s so British that people are choosing to pre-worry about something that hasn’t happened yet.
“Obviously the broadcasters have regulations, they have to be impartial so we can offer the best analysis and insight.
“I know a lot of the guests we have coming on are a real mix like my good friend Geoff Norcott, he’s a right-wing comedian and he and I are best friends and I’m really excited to see what he has to say. I know we’ve got some different Tory and Labour MPs too.
“Impartiality is so important and I know they’re paying good attention to that.”
Ryan said that their transmission will stand up against rival shows on the BBC and ITV because they have a humorous “edge”, but also a wide range of guests such as Boris Johnson’s father Stanley and sister Rachel.
“Our broadcast will definitely have the trademark comedy edge that people count on Channel 4 for, and it’s also really prioritising the news and the facts and the numbers as they come in, and I’m learning in rehearsals that we’re giving the same up-to-the-minute attention to what’s going on, and then adding some comedy in too because it’s a long old night,” she said.
“I don’t think you can get that same level of both from some of the other broadcasts.”
The comic, who has appeared on TV shows including 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Taskmaster and Have I Got News For You as well as her Netflix comedy specials, said that she is “used to negative reactions” about everything she does “because I’m a woman on the internet”.
Ryan said she has long received criticism over talking about British politics before signing up to host the Alternative Election Night.
“In terms of politics, for years, any time I say anything political people are like, ‘Well it’s not your business!’
“But I am a British resident, I am an Irish citizen, and because I’m Canadian Commonwealth I’ve always voted, I’ve always paid taxes and I think that entitles you to an opinion.”
Referring to recent criticism faced by Clark-Neal for talking about politics openly on Twitter, she added: “It’s absolutely ridiculous that people would say Rylan shouldn’t have a political opinion.
“Not everybody knows everything, but everybody knows something.”
The line-up will include political guests ex-home secretary Amber Rudd and former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, as well as comedians Jimmy Carr and Nish Kumar, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Baga Chipz, Derry Girls actress Nicola Coughlan and Made In Chelsea star Georgia “Toff” Toffolo.
Clare Balding has previously been confirmed to appear on the show, along with Matt Forde, who will run the Alternative News Desk, and Rob Rinder will be assessing the mood of the nation out and about.
Channel 4 News’s Andy Davies, Clare Fallon, Ciaran Jenkins, Victoria Macdonald, Fatima Manji, Darshna Soni and Alex Thomson will also appear throughout the broadcast.
Alternative Election Night will air on Thursday December 12 from 9.55pm on Channel 4.