The latest bizarre career move in the increasingly implausible life of Lembit Opik is a foray into Iranian propaganda, cloaked under the veil of a ‘comedy’ news programme.
At least Scrapbook think’s it’s supposed to be comedy, it’s hard to tell with Lembit.
He’s taken on hosting duties on News At When, which airs on a recently launched Freesat channel called London Broadcasting Partners. The show’s described as “Britain’s first satirical pro-Iranian politics show” – and, somewhat chillingly, as “Iran…with a smile.”
The alleged comedy show includes a character called ‘Mr West’ who is shown blaming Iran for various day-to-day inconveniences, and is characterised by a series of overly long, stony silences. Presumably to allow the viewer to laugh at the jokes. Only there aren’t any jokes.
The skit ends with Lembit’s co-presenter declaring “That poor old chap needs to stop obsessing about Iran.”
As yet, The British, pro-Iran answer to The Daily Show has failed to set the world on fire. At the time of writing, the debut episode had clocked up a whopping…419 views on YouTube. And at least three of those were Scrapbook doing research for this story.
This isn’t Lembit’s first journey into the realm of Iranian propaganda – a few years ago, he was given his own show on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s favourite TV channel, Press TV.
You’ll probably remember Press TV as being the Iranian Government-owned channel which got fined £100,000 and lost its broadcasting licence after it aired an interview with Maziar Bahari, an imprisoned Newsweek journalist, that had been conducted under duress.
In the opening of the show, faux-exasperated at Opik’s poorly timed ‘comedy’ interruptions, his co-host asks: “Are you done?”
We wish, mate. We wish.