The former prime minister revealed on Friday 27 October that he is getting his own programme on GB News, making him the latest Tory politician to join the right-wing TV channel as a presenter. The news arrived a few days before Cleese was due to launch his own show, The Dinosaur Hour.
In a video posted on X, Johnson said he was “excited” to sign up to the “remarkable” new channel – boasting that the show would allow him to share his “unvarnished views” on politics.
In response, Cleese took to X, formerly known as Twitter, the next day to say he could “hardly believe” his employer GB News would give a “proven serial liar” his own programme.
The ex-PM sensationally quit as an MP in June after claiming he was the victim of a “witch hunt” over his Partygate scandal – having been found to have deliberately lied to the Commons about his knowledge of rule-breaking.
Cleese is about to launch his 10-part GB News show, The Dinosaur Hour, on 29 October, where he will interview a range of people from inside a 12th-century castle.
Speaking about how he came to have a show on GB News, Cleese told The Sunday Times: “[GB] News came to me with the best offer I’ve ever had from a TV company. Normally, you have these executives who think they know more about comedy than you do, who tell you what they think is funny.
“It is like an accountant telling a novelist how to write a plot. But they said, ‘Make ten programmes and you can do exactly what you want,’ which is remarkable.
“I know that a lot of people have it in for GB News and, to be fair, I don’t agree with the opinions of some of its presenters. But I have had carte blanche to say what I want and to be as silly or as serious as I want. We may even do a second series.”
Cleese did not directly comment on the controversy surrounding Laurence Fox’s misogynistic comments on GB News, which led to him being sacked by the channel earlier this month.
This is not the first time the 83-year-old has criticised GB News. He previously called out presenter Mark Dolan for what he called “really appalling” behaviour after Dolan had called Meghan Markle “Woko Mono” on several occasions.
Cleese posted on Twitter: “It seems to me that GB News is harming itself by putting out this nasty, vulgar rubbish.”
Boris Johnson joins a series of former Tory colleagues – including ally Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, current deputy chair Lee Anderson and fellow Brexiteer Nigel Farage – with their own shows at the controversial channel.
In the video he said: “I am excited to say that I am shortly going to be joining you on GB News.
“I’m going to be giving this remarkable new TV channel my unvarnished views on everything from Russia, China, the war in Ukraine, how we meet all those challenges, to the huge opportunities that lie ahead for us, why I believe our best days are yet to come.
“And why on the whole the people of the world want to see more ‘global Britain’, not less.”
The Dinosaur Hour with John Cleese launches tonight on GB News at 9pm.