Channel 4 has found itself in the midst of a controversy with its latest "alternative Christmas message" video, a spoof of Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas Day speech. The Office of Communications, commonly known as Ofcom, has received nearly 350 complaints about the four-minute "deepfake" version of the speech starring Debra Stephenson.
In the controversial broadcast from around two weeks ago, Debra Stephenson appeared as the British monarch using CGI technology and made jibes about the recent events in the royal family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit as senior members of "The Firm" as well as the allegations surrounding Prince Andrew over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were also mentioned in the clip.
The video started with the queen saying she is thankful to "Channel 4" for giving her the opportunity to say whatever she wants which she wasn't able to do with the BBC. The video also showed the CGI version of the queen practising dance moves for social media site TikTok.
According to a report in Mail Online, at least 347 exasperated viewers have lodged official complaints about the video, while many more have taken to social media to express disappointment with the video which they dubbed "woke rubbish." A Twitter user wrote: "I would rather go to the kitchen and hold my hands down on the hot plate for 10 minutes than watch this 'woke' rubbish. Not many things in this country remain sacrosanct, but Her Majesty most certainly still does and always will!"
Another user lambasted the broadcaster writing: "It's both disrespectful of our gracious Queen and disgusting. The makers of this rubbish and Channel 4 should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves."
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage also expressed his hatred for the video tweeting, "How dare they."
The controversial video was directed by William Bartlett, while the script was written by James Kettle. The special creative effects to show the queen and the royal palace was done by Framestore. The video was aired on Christmas Day at 3 pm, the same time when the BBC played the Queen's pre-recorded annual message.
Channel 4 started the alternative Christmas message in 1993, as a sometimes humorous and sometimes serious alternative to the Royal Christmas Message of the Queen. The skit has previously been delivered by the likes of whistle-blower Edward Snowden, actor Danny Dyer, and The Simpsons.
The broadcaster has not yet apologised or reacted to the complaints about the video. However, the team had previously said that the video is "a powerful reminder that we can no longer trust our own eyes." The end of the clip had shown the digitally created images flickering before disappearing to reveal the green screen used to manufacture images of Buckingham Palace, and Stephenson who was playing the queen.