Italy: Beppe Grillo in surprise TV chat show appearance

Italian politician Beppe Grillo appearing on the TV chat show hosted by Bruno Vespa on 19 May 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption "It's my turn to talk," says the studio backdrop

Four million Italians have tuned in to watch fiery comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo appear on a TV chat show, despite vocally criticising them in the past.

Grillo turned in a characteristically feisty appearance on the Porta a Porta programme (Door to door), on state-owned channel Rai Uno on Monday. He told the audience he wanted to dispel misconceptions about himself and his anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) ahead of Thursday's European elections.

"I'm portrayed on TV as someone who shouts," he said. "Sometimes I shout, it's true. I'm angry, but it's a good anger - an anger that's united 10 million Italians." Reviews of Grillo's appearance were mixed, though. While most visitors to Grillo's blog were supportive, the social media verdict seems to have swung in favour of Bruno Vespa, the programme's veteran host, an analysis by centre-right newspaper Corriere della Sera says. Journalist Vittorio Zucconi even tweeted a picture with the caption: "Where fake revolutions go to die."

Grillo's movement came from nowhere to win a quarter of the vote in last year's general election, and the ex-comedian has said he thinks the mainstream media are part of a wider corrupt political set-up. Until last year, MPs from his party were banned from speaking on the discussion programmes that are a mainstay of the Italian political scene.

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