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Sunday, July 3, 2022

GB News to broadcast live Twelfth celebrations
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The announcement that broadcaster GB News are to provide live coverage of this year’s Twelfth of July celebrations, following the announcement last week that the BBC are to axe theirs, has been welcomed by many.

The relatively new news channel, which launched last year, made the announcement today confirming former First Minister of Northern Ireland and ex-DUP leader Dane Arlene Foster will head up the coverage.

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Dame Foster, who joined GB News as a presenter after resigning from the NI Assembly in October last year, said she was “incredibly proud of GB News for stepping up to fill a void left by the national broadcaster.”

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Adding: “One of the reasons I joined GB News was to bring a better understanding of Northern Ireland life and culture to a wider UK audience. GB News stands for inclusion, of all regional voices, and the Orange Parades are core to our voice in Northern Ireland.”

The BBC came under widespread criticism from all corners of unionism last week after first rumours started circulating, followed by a letter issued by the BBC appearing to confirm the broadcaster’s decision to axe its live coverage and instead replace it with an enhanced highlight program.

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The Grand Orange Lodger of Ireland have welcomed the announcement saying they are “delighted that GB News will give live television coverage to this year’s Twelfth of July demonstration from Armagh.”

Grand Master Most Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson said: “The announcement from GB News today that they will give live television coverage to the Twelfth of July parade from Armagh is very welcome indeed.

“Live coverage of the Twelfth is very important to so many people, particularly those who are unable to attend parades for a range of reasons.

“We were inundated with calls, many of them from older people who were concerned that they would miss out on this year’s parades. So I am in no doubt that this announcement will come as a huge boost.

“The Twelfth in County Armagh is the biggest of all Twelfth parades and I’m confident it will make for an excellent programme. It will feature thousands of Brethren, Sisters and Juniors on parade and an excellent variety of bands.

“We are delighted to work with the GB News team and look forward to seeing the Twelfth covered live.”

A Statement by the TUV has congratulated GB News on their decision today:

“Within 24 hours of the announcement by the BBC that they were binning live coverage of the Twelfth TUV had made contact with GB News about the possibility of them filling the gap and therefore I am absolutely delighted that the channel has stepped in and is for the first time ever offering a U.K. wide audience the opportunity to experience the colour, spectacle and sound of the Twelfth live in the comfort of their own homes.

“Today’s announcement is confirmation of what many of us already knew – the BBC no longer can control what people watch. In an age of digital and on demand TV they no longer set the agenda. However, many of them are struggling with this new reality with one BBC presenter / commentator suggesting on his license fee funded show that the Twelfth was diminished by the BBC decision. The reality is that the BBC is diminished by failing to provide coverage of one of Europe’s largest annual celebrations of culture and history where an unparalleled of variety of bands – pipe bands, flute bands, sliver bands, brass bands and accordion bands – turn out in spotless uniforms and many, the vast majority, produce music of a standard which would justify going out to see that single band on its own.

“The musical talent displayed by the bands, the artistic skill displayed on the banners and the drums and an event which is one of the annual highlights for everyone who is there will now be brought to a U.K. wide audience and that is a great thing. I am particularly delighted that the focus will be on the Armagh Twelfth which offers a great variety of superbly turned out bands. I’ve no doubt that GB News will be warmly welcomed by a community which increasingly feels ignored by old broadcasters.

“So well done GB News for seeing the obvious opportunity presented by the BBC decision.

“There are many people, particularly the infirm and elderly, who will be delighted by this news because it will mean they will be able to watch the coverage live.

“One of the interesting knock on questions to arise from this is – why are we all forced to pay for the BBC? If a relatively new, non-publicly funded broadcaster can find the resources to cover the Twelfth live what are we to make of the BBC excuse that they cannot do it because of financial pressures?

“Quality, innovative programming is hardly the hallmark of the BBC. With reruns of old episodes of Bargain Hunt and Homes Under the Hammer likely to occupy the place once afforded to the Twelfth I have no doubt that many people will do what they normally do every other day of the year and never bother with the BBC’s tired and stale offerings.”

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