Sky News is to launch The Pledge - a new breed of debate show. The weekly discussion programme has a format unique to British television. Entirely unmoderated, the participants are committed to free-speech and lively debate. Graeme Le Saux is a former England football player who enjoyed a successful career at Chelsea, Blackburn and Southampton. Graeme works as a football analyst and pundit for the BBC and for NBC Sports. He also works for the FA, where he sits on two boards. Previously, he worked for BBC Radio 5 Live and occasionally presented BBC2’s Working Lunch. The Pledge can be seen on Thursdays evenings on Sky News from 21st April.
What is it about The Pledge that appealed to you?
From a personal point of view, it’s an opportunity for me to give my views in an honest way and to show a side of my personality that I don’t get to explore in other things I do. I’ve got strong opinions on lots of subjects but I am open-minded. The Pledge, for me, is about having my own ideas but equally being happy to come away with my view changed by someone else’s argument. I don’t feel I need to be an expert on everything but I do want to be informed.
Do you think it is different to other things you have seen on TV?
I can’t think of anything in England that is the same – that’s unmoderated. It’s for each of us to find something we are interested in and create an environment in which everyone can discuss it. We can talk about anything that’s current or that’s been bugging us for a while. There are subjects that I have felt strongly about for some time and it’s going to be interesting to see how people react when I get those opinions voiced and get the discussions started.
What are the topics that have been concerning you?
There are things that frustrate me. On a local level, I am concerned about housing and the environment and how much long-term planning is being put into solving the housing crisis. Then, I think the National Health Service is an area of concern for everybody because it clearly isn’t functioning properly. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the people who work in it and the amazing stuff they do. I think it is right that you stand up and represent your values but also the values of the people that you respect as well.
How will you approach the series? What kind of personality will you bring to it?
I’ve spent my whole life playing in a team and so the principles of a team are fundamental to everything I do. So, if someone around the table isn’t getting a fair chance, I will always recognise that and bring them in. Equally, if someone was dominating I would try to get them to push back a bit. That is a team ethic. I am passionate about things that I believe in, anyone who knows about my football career will know I was a passionate player, but I don’t express that through dominating. I am not going to just shout and not listen to anyone else. I tend to argue based on logic rather than just passion.
Who are you most looking forward to locking horns with?
The obvious candidate is Nick. I can see that he has this sparkle in his eye when he is about to throw in a hand grenade. And you know he might not really believe it but he is going to do it anyway. I think Nick and I are both quite competitive so I can imagine us being slightly mischievous together during the course of the show. There will be some good laughs along the way.
In three words, describe Greg Dyke...
Larger, than, life.
How far do you think England will get in Euro 2016?
I think they’ve got a good chance of being successful. That doesn’t mean they will win it but I certainly think that quarter or semi-finals would be a good achievement. They are a very exciting team. As an England fan, I always go in thinking you set your targets to win it and then work backwards from there.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Which TV programme can’t you switch off at the moment?
Trapped. It’s a Scandi-noir based in Iceland.
Messi or Ronaldo?