Keep ‘Deepfake’ Queen to give Christmas alternative message


In the clip, Debra Stephenson will be portraying her majesty, doing a TikTok dance, and exposing her love for “Netflix and Phil.”

Meanwhile, a “Deepfake” queen will deliver a warning against misinformation and fake news in this year’s alternative Christmas message.

The annual Channel 4 Christmas address will air shortly after the Queen’s official broadcast and has previously featured whistleblower Edward Snowden, actor Danny Dyer, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, children who survived the Grenfell Tower disaster and The Simpsons.

In 2020, the alternative speaker will be an artificially rendered version of the monarch, played by actress Debra Stephenson, said she hasn’t always been able to “speak simply and from the heart” when working at the BBC.

“So I’m grateful to Channel 4 for giving me the opportunity to say what I want without anyone putting words in my mouth,” she states.

Playing the Queen, Stephenson will tell what she and Prince Philip have been up to during the lockdown (apparently she’s a fan of “Netflix and Phil”), briefly talk about Prince Andrew’s future travel plans, and give her thoughts on Harry and Meghan’s move to the U.S. earlier this year.

Her last remark warns viewers to wonder “if what we see and hear is always as it seems,” before she does a TikTok dance-with a green screen showing that the Buckingham Palace images are not real.

Deepfakes, a type of effects in which one person’s face is superimposed on another person’s body in videos, in recent years have become common and are used to create convincing, fictional videos of high-profile people.

An actress, comedian and impersonator best known for her roles in Coronation Street and Bad Girls, Stephenson says she has an “intense fascination” with the technology.

“For years I studied people to impersonate them for television, but now I can really become them,” she said. “As an actress, it’s exciting, but it’s also scary to think about how this could be used in other contexts.”

Channel 4 Director of Programs Ian Katz said, “Deepfake technology is the terrifying new frontier in the battle between misinformation and truth.

“This year’s alternative Christmas address – seemingly delivered by one of the nation’s best-known and most trusted figures – is a stark reminder that we can no longer trust our own eyes.”

Meanwhile, the Queen’s normal Christmas address will air on BBC One at 3 p.m. on Christmas Day, while Channel 4’s will air at 3:25 p.m.


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