Star of Radio 4's new comedy appeared on Russia Today – The Telegraph

Tom Walker said he left after six months because he could not build his 'brand' while being connected to the Russian propaganda channel
Radio 4’s latest political comedy star, whose satirical targets have included Vladimir Putin, is a former contributor to Russia Today.
Tom Walker performs as the character Jonathan Pie, a news reporter perpetually angry about the state of British and world politics.
His BBC Sounds podcast, Call Jonathan Pie, is a spoof phone-in show that has now transferred to Radio 4 as a 10-part series, with episodes addressing the NHS and Brexit.
A series of Pie videos were made for The New York Times last year, including one titled ‘How Putin Weaponised London’s Greed’, in which the character raged that “for 20 years, Putin has been using illicit money to fund an oligarchy of billionaires to keep his corrupt regime in power”.
Yet Pie first gained traction in 2015 when featured on Russia Today. Interviewed by the channel that year, Walker was more reticent about criticising Putin.
Asked if he agreed with the “Western mainstream media” opinion that “Russia is always bad”, Walker said: “I’m just an actor, it’s not for me to comment on the state of politics… I think you can have an opinion about anything you like, you can have an opinion about whether you think Russia is good, or Russia is bad; or Putin is good, or Putin is bad. But you can only come to that opinion if you are well-informed.”
Walker left RT after six months but initially defended his decision to accept a contract, telling the Observer in 2016: “When I started out I had various offers and, funnily enough, RT were the ones that offered me total artistic control, which I really wanted.”
Walker said he left after six months because he could not build his “brand” while he was associated with the Russian propaganda channel. “Now I can defend it without being accused of being contractually obliged to be nice,” he said.
He later claimed that he had only taken the job for financial reasons: “I had not a penny to my name, I was single, I was skipping meals.” He also said he had no regrets because the job had boosted his profile.
The character went on to appear in a series of videos for The New York Times. One of the most popular was titled ‘Welcome to Britain, Everything Is Terrible.’
Walker has said that listeners should not conflate his opinions with those of his fictional alter ego.
While Pie is “a proper old-school socialist”, Walker said his own politics had moved from “a pretty standard, Guardian-reading liberal Lefty” to a liberal who believes that freedom of speech is “an almost immovable right”.


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