C4's deepfake Queen's Christmas speech hit by Ofcom complaints after furious viewers branded it 'disrespectful'

CHANNEL 4 has been hit with hundreds of complaints over its Christmas message featuring a 'deepfake' Queen.

The broadcast saw 214 objections fly into TV watchdog Ofcom after the broadcast saw Her Majesty dancing and joking about Megxit.

Computer trickery meant that 48-year-old actress Debra Stephenson, who delivered it, looked just like the 94-year-old monarch.

The five-minute fake address, screened after families watched the real Queen deliver a rousing address, also featured gags about Prince Andrew.

One viewer tweeted Ofcom asking: "Can you please do something to stop this horrifically disrespectful, treasonous assault on the senses?"

Another fumed: "I would rather go to the kitchen and hold my hands down on the hot plate for 10 minutes than watch this 'woke' rubbish."


The fake Queen told her subjects: "On reflection this year has been an utter s**t show.

"This year more than any other year, things are not what they seem. One must now mute oneself on Zoom while using the loo."

The character also spoke about her son Andrew, who is embroiled in a scandal, and grandson Harry and his wife Meghan’s move to Canada and then LA.

She said: "I was so saddened by the departure of Harry and Meghan. There are few things more hurtful than someone telling you they prefer the company of Canadians.


“But at least I still have my beloved Andrew close by. It seems unlikely he’ll be heading to North America any time soon.”

Ending the address, she offers a warning against misinformation, warning viewers to question “whether what we see and hear is always as it seems”.

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said: "It is in really poor taste and didn't look that funny. There are a lot of people you can ridicule -but not the Queen.

"This kind of thing would never have happened ten years ago. Channel 4 are using the Queen to get some publicity."

What are ‘deepfakes’?

  • Deepfake videos are made using artificial intelligence technology which can manipulate someone's face in a video to make it look like they are saying something that they didn't.
  • A machine learning algorithm swaps out the faces frame-by-frame until it spits out a realistic, but fake, video.
  • It's one level up from dubbing, or lip syncing and can appear very convincing.
  • There's rising concern among experts that convincing deepfakes could be used to spread misinformation and fake news on social media.

 

The broadcaster's director of programmes Ian Katz called the show a "powerful reminder that we can no longer trust our own eyes".

The real-life Queen, however, addressed the nation in a sombre look back at 2020 as she spent Christmas away from Sandringham for the first time in 33 years, saying: "Life needs to go on".

She told Brits she was "so proud" as she lifted the spirits of the nation and offered comfort to those currently alone after Covid blighted their plans.

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