As the UK is about to be hit with unusually high temperatures in the coming week, a concerned meteorologist warning of fatal consequences from the brutal heat was undermined by a news host who wanted to "be happy" about it.
The interaction was compared to a scenario out of Netflix's apocalyptic film Don't Look Up–in which two scientists played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence warn the media to no avail about a deadly comet hurtling toward Earth.
On Thursday, hosts Bev Turner and Mercy Murokihe from the UK's GB News channel spoke remotely to meteorologist John Hammond about the weather. Turner seemed to fail to grasp the seriousness of the rising temperatures.
The segment started with Turner asking Hammond regarding current temperatures:
“It’s not too hot, is it?”
“No, it’s absolutely lovely, you’ve got 20 degrees [Celsius, 68° Fahrenheit] out here, it’s lovely."
But he quickly switched gears to help viewers understand the gravity of the situation ahead. Hammond revealed just how much of a scorcher it could become for unprepared UK residents who lack air conditioning, fans or other methods to cool down when they become overheated.
The unusual temperatures mean most households aren't designed to deal with the extreme heat.
"On a serious note, folks, by early next week, you can scrap 20°, it could well be 40° [104° Fahrenheit]."
“I think there’ll be hundreds, if not thousands of excess deaths early next week."
"The charts I can see in front of me are frightening, so we all like nice weather, but this will not be nice weather—this will be potentially lethal weather, for a couple of days."
“It will be brief, but it will be brutal.”
Turner, however, downplayed Hammond's warning and tried to lighten the mood by telling him:
“I want us to be happy about the weather."
She added, laughing:
"I don’t know whether something’s happened to meteorologists to make you all a little bit fatalistic and harbingers of doom."
Turner added whenever she tuned in to the BBC and listened to people talking about the weather, everyone was talking about how there were going to be "tons of fatalities."
“Haven’t we always had hot weather, John?"
"The summer of ’76, that was as hot as this, wasn’t it."
Hammond shook his head and responded:
“No, and we are seeing more and more records more and more frequently and more and more severely ... Heatwaves are becoming more extreme, this is yet another one which is coming down the tracks towards us.“
"I don’t think we should be too light-hearted about the fact that many are going to die over the next week because of the heat."
"40° [104° Fahrenheit], this sort of temperature in this country, I’m afraid, is not geared up to cope with.”
Frustrated viewers immediately compared Turner's denial to similar reactions from Don't Look Up.
Others gave Hammond props for his resolute reporting in the face of blissful ignorance.
The controversial GB News has been criticized for its lack of credible news reporting since its launch in June 2021.
After eight shows, GB News presenter and chairman Andrew Neil left the network.
Two days after its launch, Judith Woods from The Telegraph said the far-right channel was "unutterably awful; boring, repetitive and cheapskate."
Jemima Kelly also denounced the free-to-air news channel in the Financial Times, writing:
"GB News is so tedious, so lacking in nuance, so whiny and frankly so low-quality, it is actually making me more sympathetic to the cause of those they deem 'woke'."
GB News is frequently compared to Fox News, Newsmax and OAN in the United States.