Nigel Farage has told ITV boss Kevin Lygo if he wants to “go to war” with the former I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here contestant then “he can”. The GB News host accused Mr Lygo’s staff of trying to stitch him up after he came third in the show.
He warned the broadcaster could find itself in a position similar to NatWest, which sparked Mr Farage’s wrath when Coutts debanked him. Mr Farage said on GB News: “It seems whilst I was in the jungle, one or two people at the top of ITV were doing their best to make things unpleasant for me.
“What I will say to Kevin Lygo, the boss of ITV, it’s up to you mate. If you want to go to war with me, you really can.” Kevin Lygo became ITV’s Director of Television in 2016 after joining the company in August 2010 as managing director of ITV Studios.
Before that Mr Lygo was Director of Television and Content at Channel 4, which he first joined as Head of Entertainment and Music in 1997. He was also controller at the launch of Channel 4’s digital entertainment channel, E4.
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It was while Mr Lygo was at Channel 4 that a programme on ITV in 2019 revealed he was the highest paid public sector boss, with a salary of £1.3million. Mr Lygo and Channel 4 parted company in 2001 with the 66-year-old going on to spend two years as Director of Programmes at Five.
He was credited with broadening the channel’s programmes from a reliance on films, sport and bought content to original UK production. On re-joining Channel 4 in 2003, Mr Lygo commissioned Big Brother, The F Word and poached Richard and Judy from ITV.
A graduate of Durham University, where he studied psychology, Mr Lygo joined the BBC as a trainee in 1981, working as a comedy scriptwriter on The Two Ronnies and then a stint on the chatshow, Wogan.
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At ITV, Mr Lygo commissioned hits including: The Masked Singer, The Real Full Monty, Harry’s Heroes, Gino, Gordon and Fred, Liar, Des, Quiz, Manhunt and The Bay.
He was also embroiled in Philip Schofield’s exit from This Morning, warning against media pressure to end people’s careers in the wake of the presenter quitting the programme in May.
During an appearance before a committee of MPs in June, Mr Lygo said Mr Schofield said “no” when he was asked if he had been “prompted” before coming out as gay on This Morning and if there was anything ITV needed to know.
The controversy with Mr Farage erupted last month when Mr Lygo attended an event during which he allegedly mocked Mr Farage and used a rude gesture.
Mr Farage said he was prepared to ignore attempts to “stitch” him up and call a “truce”, adding he didn’t think the furore would do ITV’s share price any good. He added: “Let’s end this nonsense and let’s do it now.”
ITV has been approached for comment.
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