BBC journalist ‘taken aback’ by response to viral No 10 Christmas party explainer videos

A BBC journalist who presented a series of viral videos explaining the Christmas party allegations facing Downing Street has said he has been “taken aback” by the public’s reaction to the content.

Outside Source host Ros Atkins first shared a Twitter video on 2 December about reports of an alleged Covid rule-breaking party, and it has since been viewed more than 5 million times on the platform.

Atkins said: “In December last year, Covid cases were rising, restrictions were being tightened and Christmas plans were being changed.

“On 16 December, Boris Johnson made this plea,” he explained, going on to show a video of the prime minister calling on the public to take “the greatest possible personal responsibility” during the festive season.

Atkins then read from guidance prohibiting Christmas parties, linked to warnings from scientists at the time, and referred to a tweet from Mr Johnson in which he said that “everyone must take personal responsibility to avoid passing the virus on to loved ones this Christmas”.

“Hours after that tweet was posted, on the evening of the 18th [December], there was a Christmas party in Number 10,” Atkins claimed.

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The reporter ended up presenting a further two explainer videos, as the government insisted rules were followed and a video was released by ITV News showing Downing Street staff joking about a Christmas party in December last year.

Commenting on the response to the BBC clips, Atkins tweeted on Saturday: “We’ve been taken aback by the response to our Number 10 Christmas party videos. They’ve been watched over 11 million times in nine days.”

All three explainers, plus an interview with The Mirror’s Pippa Crerar and ITV News’ Paul Brand – who broke the Christmas party and Downing Street staff stories respectively – have since been consolidated into a single Twitter thread for your viewing pleasure.

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