Channel 4’s traditional alternative to The Queen’s Christmas speech will be delivered by a deepfake version of Queen Elizabeth II.
The idea is to warn the public over the dangers of the technology, which can be used to create legitimate-looking clips of any person saying anything.
The broadcaster has published a preview of the speech, which will air alongside The Queen’s traditional Christmas Day address to the great unwashed, on Twitter this Christmas Eve.
“On the BBC, I haven’t always been able to speak plainly and from the heart,” the fake HRH says. “So I’m grateful to Channel 4 for giving me the opportunity to say whatever I like without anyone putting words in my mouth.”
The actress Debra Stephenson is the impressionist behind the voice, but after that it’s all about the manipulation of the imagery that makes photoshopping look tame in comparison. Channel 4 says the address will provide a “stark warning” of the tech’s threat to society and democracy and “a powerful reminder that we can no longer trust our own eyes.”
According to the report, the fake monarch will tackle subjects like Harry and Meghan ditching the royals for the bright lights of LA, and even Prince Andrew’s alleged past with the sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
As you can imagine, not all are impressed by Channel 4’s bold decision. “We haven’t seen deepfakes used widely yet, except to attack women,” Sam Gregory, the programme director of Witness, the tech and human rights group, told the The Guardian.
“We should be really careful about making people think that they can’t believe what they see. If you’ve not seen them before, this could make you believe that deep fakes are a more widespread problem than they are,” he added.
The alternative message has aired on Channel 4 since 1993 and has been delivered by Rory Bremner as Lady Di, Sacha Baron Cohen in full Ali G regalia, Sharon Osborne, Marge Simpson, Danny Dyer and, most recently, the former speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.