Channel 4 will mock the Queen by using a 'deepfake' version
Channel 4 will use a ‘deepfake’ version of The Queen to deliver their version of her Christmas message… with jokes about Harry and Meghan and Prince Andrew
- Channel 4 will offer mockery of the Queen with jibes at royal family members
- Digitally-created version of the Queen played by actress Debra Stephenson
- Christmas message will offer stark warning about misinformation and fake news
Traditionally they provide a light-hearted alternative to the Queen’s annual Christmas Day address to the nation.
But this year Channel 4 are offering a mockery of the Queen – with jibes aimed at Prince Andrew, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Boris Johnson.
A digitally-created ‘deepfake’ version of the Queen, played by actress Debra Stephenson, will deliver Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message and offer a stark warning about misinformation and fake news.
The artificially rendered version of the monarch, created by visual effects studio Framestore, will appear to share her thoughts on the departure of Harry and Meghan from the UK, and the scandal surrounding the Duke of York and his connection to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Channel 4 will offer a mockery of the Queen using a digitally-created ‘deepfake’ version of Her Majesty played by actress Debra Stephenson
The Christmas message will include jibes aimed at Prince Andrew, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Boris Johnson
She can also be seen performing a TikTok dance routine and revealing her penchant for ‘Netflix and Phil’ with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.
During the four-minute broadcast, a spoof Elizabeth II, said: ‘One thing that has sustained many of us is our families, which is why I was so saddened by the departure of Harry and Meghan.
‘There are few things more hurtful than someone telling you they prefer the company of Canadians. But at least I still have my beloved Andrew close by, it seems unlikely he’ll be heading to North America anytime soon.’
She added: ‘2020 has also been a year of heroes, such as our brave NHS workers, many of whom were forced to take incredible risks – like treating Boris Johnson – knowing at any time, as a result, they too could become pregnant.’
Pictures of her family members surround her as she makes her address.
Deepfake technology has become increasingly prevalent over recent years and can be used to create convincing but completely manufactured video content of high-profile figures, most notably of former US president Barack Obama, who has been the subject of a number of deepfake videos.
The artificially rendered version of the monarch will appear to share her thoughts on the departure of Harry and Meghan from the UK
The four-minute broadcast will also offer a stark warning about misinformation and fake news
The artificial rendering of the Queen, devised by special effects creatives at Framestore, was directed by William Bartlett, and Miss Stephenson, 48, read a script by James Kettle.
The end of the message shows the artificially created images flickering before disappearing to reveal the green screen used to manufacture images of Buckingham Palace and show it was in fact Miss Stephenson portraying the Queen.
The actress said: ‘I have an intense fascination with deepfake technology. For years I have studied people to impersonate them for TV, but now I can truly become them.
‘As an actress it is thrilling but it is also terrifying if you consider how this could be used in other contexts.’
Channel 4’s alternative Christmas message airs opposite the BBC’s broadcast of the Queen’s official annual televised message to the nation.
It has previously been delivered by Doreen and Neville Lawrence, John Bercow and Quentin Crisp.
Ian Katz, director of programmes at Channel 4, said: ‘Deepfake technology is the frightening new frontier in the battle between misinformation and truth.
Deepfake technology can be used to create convincing but completely manufactured video content of high-profile figures
‘This year’s Alternative Christmas Address – seemingly delivered by one of the most familiar and trusted figures in the nation – is a powerful reminder that we can no longer trust our own eyes.’
Director Bartlett said: ‘This was a great project to be asked to direct.
‘Deepfake is an interesting spin-off from the recent advances made in machine learning and AI and, while it is a powerful new technique for image-makers everywhere, it is also a tool that can be used to misrepresent and deceive.
‘With Channel 4, we wanted to create a sequence that is hopefully entertaining enough that it will be seen by a lot of people and thereby spreads the very real message that images cannot always be trusted.’
The Alternative Christmas Message airs Channel 4 at 3.25pm tomorrow [25th].
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