Andrew Neils troubled channel sparked ‘scary’ health issue as host underwent operation

Andrew Neil describes BBC licence fee as a 'Straitjacket'

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Journalist Andrew Neil quit GB News in September 2021, three months after he launched it. He has since admitted the stress of the beleaguered channel caused him to need a heart operation, leaving him so breathless he almost died. 

Andrew, who had previously worked for the BBC for 25 years, stepped down amid his concerns about the way GB News was heading.

The 73-year-old claimed he didn’t want to be involved in “the British version of Fox News”.

“Fox deals in untruths, it deals in conspiracy theories and it deals in fake news,” he said on Question Time. 

“That’s not my kind of journalism and I would never have set out to do that.”

In January, Andrew was holidaying in the South of France when he suddenly became very short of breath.

“It was a bit scary,” he said.

“I was seriously running out of breath. There was something wrong.”

Andrew’s heart was beating irregularly and he needed an urgent operation to fix it.

“They put you out, they shock your heart. It stops. Then they start it up again and the rhythm is back to regular,” he explained to the Radio Times.  

“It did click back into regular rhythm… But then it quickly clicked out again,” he continued, adding that he is now on medication to control his heart.

“They seem to be working… But if I have the slightest twinge in my chest it’s – ‘That’s it! It’s coming!’” he admitted.

But Andrew’s health did not snap back to what it was before. 

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“I still get more tired than I used to… So, I do what I want to – and I like doing podcasts,” he said, having recently launched his The Backstory podcast. 

The broadcaster blames his health woes on GB News’ many issues from collapsing sets to plummeting viewership. 

“It could have killed me,” he said.

“Getting out was definitely good for my health.” 

Andrew also took aim at his former longtime employer, the BBC.

“It’s suffered because it’s been death by a thousand cuts,” he said.

“The licence fee has been reduced by 30 per cent in real terms since 2010. It’s frozen again for another two years. 

“The conversation at the BBC has been ‘How can we do this more cheaply?’ Not ‘How can we do it better?’ That’s had its impact on BBC News.” 

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