Alex Salmond to host chat show for Russian broadcaster RT
The Alex Salmond Show - Image credit: Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond is to host a political chat show on Russian-owned channel RT.
Broadcast every Thursday night, the former first minister will have guests from the worlds of politics, entertainment and business.
The show is thought to have been inspired by Salmond’s sell-out show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.
It will be produced by Slainte Media and directed by by former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who also produced Salmond’s Fringe show.
Salmond has said he wants to hear from “people of ideas” and that he aims to find out something of the personality behind public figures.
The choice of channel is controversial, though, as RT is funded by the Russian government and is considered to be a Russian propaganda channel.
However, Salmond has defended his decision to appear on RT.
He told the BBC’s Newsnight programme: “Over the last year or two, 50 Labour MPs, including the current Labour Party leader, 37 Conservative MPs, including some who were at the launch tonight, and 17 SNP MPs have appeared on RT programmes.
“Now, I appeared on RT programmes while I was still a member of parliament.
“It would be a bit strange if I said now I’m no longer a member of parliament I’m refusing to make my own show, with my own production company, over which I have total editorial control which is broadcast on RT.”
Asked whether he would then lend credibility to RT, he answered: “If it’s a good show and it has high production values and it has interesting guests with interesting things to say, they should say it’s a good show.
“And if it turns out to be Kremlin propaganda then people can slate me, but why don’t they watch the show first and then decide.”
But Salmond’s decision has been criticised by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who called it an “unedifying spectacle”.
He said: "What an unedifying spectacle to see a former first minister who fancies himself as the Michael Parkinson of Putin's propaganda channel.
"Nicola Sturgeon will have her head in her hands if this means another round of Alex Salmond interventions."
The first Alex Salmond Show programme will be broadcast next Thursday.