Her Majesty has addressed the nation every year since 1952, doing so on television since 1957, while Channel 4 has invited an unlikely public figure on air to offer their own spin of the year’s events since 1993. Quentin Crisp, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Brigitte Bardot, Edward Snowden and Brendan Cox have all given past speeches.
Dyer provided one of the TV highlights of the year in June when he appeared on ITV’s Good Evening Britain - as part of a surreal panel also including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and ex-Baywatch star Pamela Anderson – and launched into an impassioned rant against Brexit and former prime minister David Cameron.
“Who knows about Brexit? No one has got a fucking clue what Brexit is, yeah. You watch Question Time, it’s comedy”, he said. “No one knows what it is – it’s like this mad riddle that no one knows what it is, right?
“So what’s happened to that twat David Cameron who called it on?”, he continued, gathering momentum.
“Where is he? He’s in Europe, in Nice, with his trotters up, yeah? Where is the geezer? I think he should be held to account for it. Twat.”
In November, Dyer continued his diatribe against the British political class and the “age of food banks” in The Big Issue.
“Theresa May, bless her, just got that job by default,” he told the magazine. “Boris Johnson running around with his stupid haircut, spouting bollocks. Young people look and think: ‘If these are the people running the country, why shouldn’t I just go and loot and riot?’”
“They [politicians] don’t give a fuck,” he continued. “This ‘us against them’ type vibe has got worse. We are living in an age of food banks. How the fuck did that happen? Seriously.
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“Politicians are just floundering around. They have been given this thing called fucking Brexit because of one man. One man. Who we voted in to be our prime minister, who purely for his own ego decided to call a referendum just to get rid of Nigel Farage.
“Farage, another prick in a suit who tapped in to something – and I suppose it is that white working-class, middle-age man who lost his voice slightly. He [Farage] tapped into what he felt maybe they wanted to say and twisted it. He got a bit of a following, so Cameron decided to call a referendum just to get him.
“Well, fuck you Cameron, you posh twat. Sorry. It backfired on him, didn’t it? And what does he do? He fucks off. He doesn’t like the way it went and he fucks off.”
The Londoner’s plainspeaking on TV and on Twitter has made him a folk hero over the years and his vitriol on Brexit saw him become an immediate fixture in Cold War Steve’s satirical photomontages on Twitter, as high an honour as 2018 had to offer.
Dyer – who first rose to fame starring in low-budget Cockney gangster films and as host of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men - will also address American politics in his Christmas Day broadcast, describing Donald Trump as an “absolute melt”. He previously asked his Twitter followers: “Is it me or is this geezer completely off his strange-looking nut?”
One of his most famous tweets of all concerned events across the pond in 2012: “Can’t believe it’s nearly 11 years since them slags smashed into the Twin Towers. It still freaks my nut out to this day.”
As for the Queen, his rival for viewing figures on 25 December, Dyer is actually distantly related to her, as we learnt from a memorable 2016 instalment of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, which traced his East End roots back to the Tudor epoch and Edward III, a revelation he was stunned by.
“I think I’m going to treat myself to a ruff… Just get a massive ruff, just bowl about with it and if anyone questions it then I’ll explain to them why I’m wearing a ruff,” he said, rather touchingly.
Wishing the Queen a happy 90th birthday on an episode of ITV’s Celebrity Juice, he said: “You probably ain’t got a clue who I am… Go out tonight and get off your fucking nut. Enjoy yourself!”
The author of The World According to Danny Dyer (2015) has done some of his very best work on social media, routinely dishing out deathless wisdom in his signature style: “I hate that early bird. You know, the one who catches the worm. Get back in ya nest ya feathery little mug.”
On Christmas, he posted in 2013: “Just whacked me tree up. It’s looking slightly camp this year. Can’t work out how to give it a pair of bollocks.”
On pubs: ”You’re going in for a drink and a laugh with your mates. You don’t need a six-course Thai menu and an interior by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to do that.”
On health and good living: “If the body is a temple, mine’s a fucking windowless shed.”
On appearing on Channel 4’s Countdown: “It was a real lesson. My new favourite long word is ‘Discomfuckingbobulate’. Rachel [Riley] didn’t know what fucking hit her.”
He’s always great value on a chat show, whether playing “Play Your Slags Right” with Alan Carr or telling Jonathan Ross: “You know you’ve made it when you’re plotted in your gaff in front of a fire drinking a Slush Puppy.”
His acceptance speech at the National Television Awards in 2016 for his role as Mick Carter on EastEnders was also unforgettable: “I want to thank me mum and dad for having a roll-about in 1977 and conceiving me!”
Aside from David Cameron, Danny Dyer has saved his most devastating put-downs for right-wing columnist Katie Hopkins, who criticised his wife Joanne Mas for proposing to him.
“No man wants his wife to have the look of Wilfred Bramble either… strange old world innit,” he replied.
Not finished there, Danny subsequently delivered one of the great insults of our time, tweeting: “When did Katie Hopkins realise her face looks like someone’s punched a lasagne. Twice.”
Danny Dyer’s Alternative Christmas Message airs on Christmas Day at 3.50pm on Channel 4
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