Ian Hislop mocks the Conservative Party in 2017
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The third episode of Ian Hislop’s Channel 5 show Trains That Changed The World airs tonight at 9pm. The program sees the acerbic satirist tell the stories of the most important trains in history and the impact they had on the world. Tonight’s episode, the third of a four-part series, looks at the revolutionary Stephenson’s Rocket, a train from the Industrial Revolution that transformed the British economy from small, localised industries to the global corporations we see today.
Ahead of the show, Mr Hislop said: “For over 200 years trains have changed our lives.
“They reshaped our towns and cities with groundbreaking engineering.
“They have changed the way we work, even the way we holiday.”
Mr Hislop, never one to shy away from voicing his opinion, is editor of Private Eye and allegedly the most sued man in English legal history, although the number of libel claims against him has declined in recent years.
He has also been a captain on the weekly BBC quiz show Have I Got News For You which first aired in 1990.
Incredibly, he is the only person to have appeared in every single episode of the program, and even filmed an episode in the seventh series while suffering from appendicitis – he discharged himself from hospital immediately before appearing.
The BBC has frequently been accused of displaying political bias.
Indeed, a 2018 poll by BMG Research found just 37% of those surveyed thought the Beeb was impartial.
So when Mr Hislop raised a question about BBC bias on a BBC show, it was as awkward as you’d expect.
In a 2017 episode of Have I Got News For You, Mr Hislop asked: “Are there no questions about the Conservatives at all? Is that the new BBC policy?”
Host Kirsty Young rolled her eyes in response, with Mr Hislop quick to assure her.
“I don’t want to question the superior wisdom of the BBC,” he chuckled.
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Later in the program, Mr Hislop drew attention to an apparent double standard.
Discussing then-Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposal to cap fuel prices, he said: “That was a very bad idea when Ed Miliband announced it.
“But now they’ve announced the same thing, it’s a really good idea.
“In the old days it was interfering in the market, but now it’s… interfering in the market.”
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The audience chuckled in response.
Mr Hislop continued: “But it’s a very good idea because the Tories are doing it.”
He asked Ms Young “do you see the difference?”
“If Labour do it, it’s very, very bad. If the Conservative Party do it, it’s intervening in a good sense – to provide a stable… strong, strong… and stable, stable.”
He was, of course, mocking the phrase often used by Mrs May in the run-up to the 2017 general election.
It should be noted that Mr Hislop is a satirist, so was playing with the general bias complaints rather than specifically the BBC.
Trains That Changed The World airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 5.
It will also be available on My5.
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