Peter Hitchens: who is Banged Up contestant, what did he say to Matthew Perry, who was brother Christopher?

Right wing journalist Peter Hitchens, who took part in Channel 4’s Banged Up, sparked controversy following Matthew Perry’s death
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Peter Hitchens, 72, is a right wing journalist who recently took part in Channel 4 prison documentary series Banged Up, alongside EastEnders star Sid Owen, comic actor Tom Rosenthal, and others.

He is well known for his socially conservative views and works as a columnist for The Mail on Sunday, and has also contributed to The Spectator, The American Conservative, The Guardian, First Things, Prospect, and the New Statesman. 

Hitchens’ ideology changed through his life - as a young man he was a member of the International Socialists, a far left political party, and a staunch atheist, before converting to Christianity and to conservative political thought.

He has worked as a journalist for most of his career, spending almost a quarter of a century as a reporter for Daily Express, leaving the role in 2000 after it was taken over by Richard Desmond. He then joined the Mail on Sunday.

Hitchens has written a number of non-fiction books, including The War We Never Fought, in which he criticises the UK’s weak stance on drug use, and suggests that in some cases it has been effectively decriminalised.

Peter Hitchens shared his debate with Matthew Perry on addiction following the Friends star's death (Credit: BBC)Peter Hitchens shared his debate with Matthew Perry on addiction following the Friends star's death (Credit: BBC)
Peter Hitchens shared his debate with Matthew Perry on addiction following the Friends star's death (Credit: BBC)

What did Peter Hitchens say to Matthew Perry?

In a heated Newsnight encounter in 2013 with Friends actor Matthew Perry, Hitchens dismissed Perry’s stance on addiction as a disease. Hitchens claimed that there was no evidence for drug addiction and that people take drugs due to a lack of willpower.

Perry, who battled addiction throughout his adult life later reflected on the interview in his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, in which he called Hitchens a ‘complete tool’.

A clip of the debate resurfaced online following Perry’s death on 28 October - Hitchens reposted the clip shared by a user who had claimed that Perry had ‘destroyed’ Hitchens in the debate.

Hitchers shared the clip with a Latin caption which translates to ‘of the dead nothing but good is to be said’, adding that he felt ‘wholly undestroyed’ in the debate.

He later shared an article he had written in 2017, which featured a banner of image of Perry, titled The Fantasy of Addiction. His posts, coming so soon in the wake of Perry’s death, were criticised as distasteful by many X users, though Hitchens claimed he was just responding to those who had used the star’s death to attack him.

Who was Peter Hitchens’ brother?

Hitchens brother, Christopher, was also a journalist and author who was diametrically opposed on many views. Christopher remained an atheist and anti-theist throughout his life, and was on the left politically, though he alienated some of his former allies when he voiced his support for the Iraq War.

The two fell out for a period after Peter allegedly characterised Christopher as a Stalinist, but the pair reconciled. They took part in a lengthy debate in 2010 about the existence of God and role of religion in civilisation.

In 2011, Christopher died from complications related to oesophageal cancer in 2011, aged 62, and Peter spoke at his funeral.

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