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Andrew Neil: 'This would have killed me' – broadcaster, 72, on 'bad' effects of stress




After becoming the face of new channel GB News before it went on air in June 2021, Neil made a swift exit from his presenting duties, after only eight programmes. With a combination of technical hitches, loss of senior staff and differences of opinion over its political direction, the future for Neil as the rightwing network’s lead presenter looked murky. At the time, Neil spoke out about his brief stint for the channel, explaining that it “would have killed [him] if [he’d] carried on”.

In an interview with The Guardian back in September 2021 he said: “It was a big decision but I frankly couldn’t care if it was £40m. This would have killed me if I’d carried on.

“It just went from bad to worse. There was one day we spent the whole day preparing the programme and fixing up a number of interviews down the line [remotely], because that was the business model.

“At one minute to eight [his flagship show was broadcast live at 8pm], I sat down, earpiece in, microphone on, only to be told by the director we had no external communications, so I had no guests.

“I was in despair. Unlike other shows, where there are two anchors, so they can talk rubbish to each other, I was on my own.”

The 72-year-old continued to say that even after the first week of live broadcasting he felt like leaving the channel, due to the “huge” amounts of stress he was under.

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“It was really beginning to affect my health,” Neil continued to say. “I wasn’t sleeping… I had a constant knot in my stomach.

“When I did wake up, I’d feel fine, then this knot would come and wouldn’t leave me for the whole day.”

In response to Neil’s comments, a spokesman for GB News told The Guardian: “At no point did Andrew raise concerns of the editorial direction of GB News moving to the right. As with all companies, decision-making rests with the board, and GB News is no different. As a member of the board, Andrew had the same rights and abilities to raise concerns, and he was privy to all decisions.

“The launch date of GB News was set to accommodate Andrew’s own travel plans. Indeed, contrary to management’s wishes, it was Andrew who insisted the launch date be announced, failing which he refused to travel to London for it.”

The spokesman added: “The terms of his departure were properly negotiated and documented, with Andrew taking legal advice throughout. The fact that he has chosen to ignore these terms and make his departure unnecessarily contentious and public is a decision he will have to live with.”


Since leaving GB News, it has been reported that Neil is in talks with Channel 4, with a keen interest to present a weekly political analysis show.

These reports come after another bout of ill health for Neil, as he worried that he had caught the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, after suffering with severe symptoms.

On January 2, Neil took to Twitter saying: “In the run up to Christmas I came down with these symptoms – rasping, chesty cough, wheezing windpipe, runny nose, sore throat.

“But never felt lungs threatened. Three tests over 10 days all said it wasn’t omicron. Still not sure tests were right.

“I concluded from test results I had contracted what we used to call in days gone by the ‘common cold’ or even ‘flu’.

“I’ve had lots of colds over the years — but never with this mix or longevity of symptoms. So thought it prudent to isolate. All good now.”

After a stressful and seemingly unhealthy end to 2021, Neil seems to be back on top form after recovering from “flu” and leaving GB News to pursue other career paths.

The Mental Health Foundation explains the importance of stress and the negative effects that it can have on health both physically and mentally. Although it is the body’s response to pressure, too much stress can leave an individual in a permanent stage of “fight or flight”.

This means that individuals can become overwhelmed or unable to cope with everyday situations. Those who feel stressed regularly may also feel the following:

  • Anxious
  • Afraid
  • Angry or aggressive
  • Sad
  • Irritable
  • Frustrated
  • Depressed.

Due to these emotional feelings, physical symptoms such as the following may appear, making individuals feel even worse:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Digestive problems such as constipation, bloating or diarrhoea
  • Shallow breathing or hyperventilating
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Aches and pains.

Research has also suggested that certain health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach ulcers, cardiovascular disease and shingles can all be triggered or made worse by stress.

The Mayo Clinic explains that taking steps to manage stress can in turn help your health. Things such as getting regular physical activity, practising relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation, spending time with family or friends, or setting aside time for hobbies and getting enough sleep are all simple ways to help relieve and manage stress.

If you or someone you know continues to feel overwhelmed by stress, it is important to not be afraid to seek professional help. The Mental Health Foundation recommends seeking help from your GP, who may then suggest the following:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which can help reduce stress by changing the ways you think about stressful situations
  • Brief interpersonal counselling, which can give you the chance to talk about what causes you Stress and develop coping strategies
  • Mindfulness-based approaches.

To access confidential mental health support Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: for a reply within 24 hours. Alternatively, text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text “YM” if you’re under 19.



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Boxed Packaged Goods: How To Choose The Appropriate Material



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Ruud van Nistelrooy makes next job decision as Man Utd plan coaching appointment




That decision failed to pay off, however, with the Red Devils sacking Moyes after just 10 months in charge.

After the current West Ham boss came Van Gaal, who arrived with big things expected due to his past success at the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.

Giggs was hoping to get the Red Devils job himself, which was why he stayed, but both ended up leaving nearly six years ago.

When Jose Mourinho took over, he opted to maintain his close relationship with Rui Faria – who had previously worked under him at clubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Fair departed in the summer of 2018, though, with Michael Carrick then given a place on Mourinho’s bench.

Carrick stayed to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian also regularly picking up the thoughts of Phelan and Kieran McKenna throughout his spell in the dugout.

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