Alex Salmond hosts new talk show on Turkish public broadcaster

Alex Salmond has announced a new series of interview programmes for Turkish public broadcaster TRT World.

The former Scottish first minister said the show, called Turkish Tea Talk, will be a “really fun series”.

It comes after he attracted criticism for hosting a show on the Russian state broadcaster RT, with his successor Nicola Sturgeon saying she was “appalled”.

Mr Salmond, who quit the SNP and set up the rival pro-independence Alba Party, suspended that programme in February 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

News of his latest show comes after current First Minister Humza Yousaf was criticised for inviting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Scotland after the pair met at the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai last year.

Movie star Brian Cox – a high-profile supporter of Scottish independence – is the first guest on Mr Salmond’s programme.

Mr Salmond said: “I have been asked by TRT World to interview some of the most interesting people on the planet in showbusiness, sport and public life, and chat with them about their life, work and key interests.

“It’s called Turkish Tea Talk to emphasise the very informal nature of the discussions. The format is to let the guests do the talking over a glass of Turkish tea and give us all an insight into what makes them tick.

Brian Cox
Succession star Brian Cox is the first guest on the show (PA)

“For me this series is a chance to broaden away from narrow politics and instead chat to fascinating people across the full range of public life about their stories.

“I relish that opportunity and am grateful to TRT World for offering it to me.”

Mr Salmond said Cox – who has been nominated for a string of awards for his role as Logan Roy in the TV drama Succession – had a “marvellous life story to tell”, saying he has gone “from the backstreets of Dundee to renowned Shakespearean actor and now to Hollywood icon”.

He said he and Cox have been friends “for years”, but added: “Every time I speak to him I learn something new.

“In this interview we talk a great deal about his childhood, about his passion for equality and social mobility, and about what it is like to suddenly transition from being a famous and respected actor to a global and instantly recognised superstar.”

Mr Salmond said Cox donated his fee for the interview to “help young actors” at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and the former SNP leader added the actor “comes across as a man deeply concerned that the ladder of opportunity, once offered to him, should be much more available to the next generation”.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The only lesson Alex Salmond seems to have learned from his stint on Putin’s propaganda channel is that autocrats pay well.

“He’s an embarrassment to the high office that he used to hold.”