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Channel 4 Slammed For Deepfake Queen's Christmas Message

Rebecca Shepherd

| Last updated 

Channel 4 Slammed For Deepfake Queen's Christmas Message

Channel 4 has come under fire after airing a deepfake video of the 'Queen's' alternative Christmas message:


The broadcaster sparked controversy with the five-minute clip which was altered to reflect on things such as Prince Harry and Megan's decision to leave the UK as well as Prince Andrew stepping down from royal duties.

Of course it won't be the actual Queen speaking. Channel 4 are using a 'deepfake' version to deliver the alternative Christmas message.


Now people have taken to social media to share their views, with one saying: "Parody is one thing, but this is crossing the line."

Another added: "This is in very poor taste and is both offensive and disrespectful: you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves!"

Someone else pointed out: "They were demonstrating the dangers of deepfake technology. Put your pitchforks down."


Debra Stephenson has voiced Her Majesty previously on the 2020 sketch show Spitting Image. Speaking about her new role, she said: "As an actress it is thrilling but it is also terrifying if you consider how this could be used in other contexts."

Channel 4's Director of Programmes, Ian Katz, said: "Deepfake technology is the frightening new frontier in the battle between misinformation and truth.

"This year's Alternative Christmas Address - seemingly delivered by one of the most familiar and trusted figures in the nation - is a powerful reminder that we can no longer trust our own eyes."

Credit: Channel 4
Credit: Channel 4

The full 'alternative message' reads: "For nearly seventy years, I have kept a tradition of speaking to you at Christmas. But on the BBC, I haven't always been able speak plainly and from the heart.

"So, I am grateful to Channel 4 for giving me the opportunity to say whatever I like, without anyone putting words in my mouth.

"If there is a theme to my message today, it is trust. Trust in what is genuine - and what is not. 2020 has been a challenging year for us all. A year when most of you, thanks to toilet roll shortages, have finally understood how it feels to have a predicament on the throne.

"One thing that has sustained many of us is our families. Which is why 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.

"2020 has also been a year of heroes. Such as our brave NHS workers, many of whom were forced to take incredible risks, like treating Boris Johnson, knowing at any time, as a result, they too could become pregnant.

"As is so often the case, technology helped tackle the challenges we faced this year. Like many of you, when I wasn't settling down with my husband to 'Netflix and Phil', as I like to call it, I was perfecting my moves for TikTok.

"In fact, there's something I'm rather excited to share with you all. I'm under strict orders from Philip not to, but as he's nodded off in front of Home Alone 2... would you mind, awfully? You'll have to move that camera back. Everyone ready?"



"If that doesn't get me on Strictly, I don't know what will. Thank you. So much of our world today comes to us through these screens. Which brings me back to that question of trust, of whether what we see and hear is always as it seems.

"On behalf of myself, your Queen, and all at Channel 4, I trust you will have the very merriest of Merry Christmases."


ACTRESS: (NORMAL VOICE) "Was that OK? Can I have a cup of tea now?"

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4

Topics: Christmas, Entertainment, TV and Film, The Queen

Rebecca Shepherd
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