Last night, after a hell of a lot of sweat and many very real tears, GB News made it to air on the hottest day of the year.
Over the past few weeks, the GB News team has been rehearsing out of a construction site as our state-of-the-art studio is put together.
Last night it’s fair to say, it wasn’t quite finished – our facilities are a bit like the channel itself: Lean and mean.
But last night as the team of presenters all poured in alongside guests like Nigel Farage (who admitted to quaffing a glass of fizz before going to air), that didn’t matter.
Alastair Stewart – one of the best live British news presenters of all time – has instantly become a mentor and friend to our rising star presenters like Alex Phillips, Inaya Folarin Iman and Mercy Muroki, who I’m convinced will all become household names in the years to come.
Over the past few weeks, the GB News team (pictured) has been rehearsing out a construction site as our state-of-the-art studio is put together
Andrew Neil posed for selfies with young producers who grew up watching him and are now working with their broadcasting hero.
Unlike the Beeb or ITV, there’s no make-up or styling team. I powdered myself in a makeshift dressing room as Gloria adjusted the spanx beneath her stunning dress.
As the screens dotted around the newsroom counted down to zero, spontaneous applause erupted, writes Dan Wootton
No presenters get any special treatment – we’re all part of the team and it feels like we’ve become a little family.
To relieve the tension as we posed for our full presenting team photo in the studio before going live, Simon McCoy jokingly massaged Andrew’s back to help relieve the palpable tension.
As the screens dotted around the newsroom counted down to zero, spontaneous applause erupted as Andrew uttered the words we’d been waiting to hear: ‘This is GB News, Britain’s News Channel.’
My show Tonight Live launched the regular schedule at 9pm, with guests including anti-lockdown resistance hero Lord Sumption, cheeky Apprentice host Lord Alan Sugar, and Chinese virologist turned whistle-blower Li-Meng Yan.
For the past six months I’ve been one of 150 crazy, brave and very passionate folk at GB News attempting to launch a new 24-hour news network for the UK in the midst of a never-ending lockdown.
If you’re anything like me, I’m pretty sure you’ve wanted to throw the remote control at the gogglebox this past year as increasingly woke news networks tell us what we should be thinking.
My WTF moment was when Robert Peston announced on ITV News that he would never return to normal life again following the pandemic. Er, why?
More from Dan Wootton for MailOnline…
But maybe for you it was when ITV’s Tom Bradby started acting as some sort of PR for the latest utterings of The Duke and Duchess of Woke Harry and Meghan in Californian exile.
Or when Beth Rigby of Sky News was relentlessly gunning for government ministers over minor Covid rule breaches, while living it up without a care for the guidance on Saturday nights herself.
Maybe the final straw has been C-list actor Adil Ray’s relentless verbal bullying of anyone connected to the government on Good Morning Britain.
What’s clear is that an alternative has been so desperately needed.
There was one given about our first night: The snobby London metropolitan media elite were going to hate it – and, of course, they did.
Before we broadcast a single second, the woke warriors on Twitter had launched a series of campaigns to try to defund and cancel us. If that doesn’t sum up the madness of 2021…
But despite dealing with inevitable technical gremlins – we’re launching an entire new broadcasting system on a tiny fraction of the budget of BBC, ITV or Sky – real Brits were overwhelmingly positive.
In fact, my launch-night ratings peaked at 271,000 at 10pm, many times the audience of Sky News or the BBC News channel.
But how many watched on TV is just a small part of the puzzle. The world has changed now – you can view us online or on your phone via an app. Soon GB News will be available to watch on YouTube and listen to on the wireless.
But this is just the start of what I hope will be a broadcasting revolution in the UK, where presenters like me are honest about what we believe.
My launch-night ratings peaked at 271,000 at 10pm, many times the audience of Sky News or the BBC News channel
Free speech and democracy have been increasingly under attack over the last five years, nodded through by a monolithic bloc of privileged and out of touch Londoners who want to tell you what you should think.
They completely missed the march towards Brexit and then did everything they could to try and stop it being delivered.
So many debates about thorny issues have been shut down in the broadcast media, where woke producers proudly make decisions on what stories should be covered based on what matters to them, not you.
In fact, often judgements can be made about what stories the media chooses NOT to cover.
Last night as the team of presenters poured in alongside guests like Nigel Farage (who admitted to quaffing a glass of fizz before going to air)
Why, for example, have the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News devoted hours and hours to covering Black Lives Matters and Extinction Rebellion demonstrations, while declaring a near blackout on protests by those who oppose lockdowns.
The BBC spent more on copies of the left-wing Guardian than any other newspaper, even though it’s the least popular in the country.
What I hope GB News can do is bring you all the facts from all perspective, without censoring our guests.
I will always be honest and up front with you about my point of view, just like I am in my MailOnline columns.
I am proud to be an outsider.
I have never worked for any political party.
I’m not friends with folk in Westminster and don’t hang out with Carrie Johnson like so many other journalists who write about her husband.
I am completely independent and what I care about is fighting for the Brits so often ignored by the broadcast media in this country.
What I hope GB News can do is bring you all the facts from all perspective, without censoring our guests
I want to give the silenced majority a voice again.
What on earth is there to feared from a balanced broadcaster that will feature all perspectives of the debate?
In fact, that phrase – All Perspectives – is the name of the parent company of GB News for good reason.
I’ll tell you what I do believe in and support: capitalism, genuine free speech, social liberties and respecting democracy. That’s pretty basic, right?
Making GB News a success is not going to be easy. There are a series of challenges that will be difficult to overcome.
But we are collectively up for the fight.
I’ve never professionally felt the buzz that existed in the GB News newsroom last night as the clock counted down for Andrew Neil to launch a manifesto for the new station in our studio, which is still under construction.
GB News will not be defined by one political viewpoint, no matter what our detractors say.
But it will be defined by honest presenters sharing their genuine opinions and making judgements based on what viewers want, not what impresses their mates in the chattering classes at dinner parties.