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Comedian (and Derry Girls fan) Joe Lycett blasts government for trying to privatise Channel 4

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Comedian and TV presenter Joe Lycett

Comedian and TV presenter Joe Lycett

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Comedian and TV presenter Joe Lycett

Comedian Joe Lycett has blasted the government for trying to privatise Channel 4, saying his favourite show, Derry Girls, wouldn’t have got commissioned if it was.

The TV presenter told Showbiz Life he has yet to watch the final episodes of series three of the hit comedy as he doesn’t want Lisa McGee’s show to end.

He said: “I haven’t watched all the last series yet, because I love it so much that I want to really savour it and not binge. I treat each episode separately and really enjoy it. I am scared to finish it.

“They said as much explicitly that that is the case [it wouldn’t have been made]. My show was rejected by the BBC. It wouldn’t have been taken on by a private broadcaster, because it wouldn’t serve their purposes. Channel 4 was the only place it could exist.

“I think it’s a wrong decision and an ill-informed decision. It’s a cynical move by the government to distract from other things. I don’t think they care really. If they can use it to distract from their failings then why not?”

The 33-year-old, who was speaking to us from his hammock in his garden, is set to perform in Northern Ireland this week.

He said: “I’ve been to Belfast many times before but I’ve never played in Derry before. I used to do the Empire in Belfast quite a lot and cut my teeth at gigs there and was always terrified. I have friends from Northern Ireland saying, ‘When you are in Belfast, stir your tea anticlockwise and don’t look people in the eye.’ They were trying to terrify me, and then everyone was so lovely, so I’m looking forward to being back. Oh, yeah, they like a laugh there.”

The funnyman is particularly excited to be spending three nights in Northern Ireland — and was hoping to catch a Kevin Hart gig while in Belfast. However, the US comedian, who is here filming the Netflix film Lift, in which he plays a master thief, doesn’t have a show in the city until June 19, at the SSE Arena.

“You can’t go to Belfast and not have a drink. When I used to do the Empire I’d fly over, do the gig and have a couple of pints and go to bed to fly back the next morning. Whereas I get to be there a few days and properly bed in, do a few things. I’m really excited to be there.”

Speaking about what you can expect from his performance, Joe added. “I love this show. It’s a very personal show to me. It’s a very special story and I’m enjoying telling people about it.

“At first, coming back after lockdown, the audiences were so grateful for anything happening. I think there is a sense that everyone — the venues, myself, the audiences — is all taking it less for granted now and we are aware these things could be snatched from us, so we all enjoy it more. We’re not being so throwaway, which we might have been in the past.”

Joe is performing at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Wednesday June 8 and Friday June 10 and at the Millennium Forum in Londonderry on Thursday June 9.


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