By David Humphreys

You wouldn't think that watching a mini-series based around the life and times of a disgraced former US cable TV network behemoth would feel representative of life in 2019 Britain, would you?

However, by the end of the fourth episode of the aptly titled The Loudest Voice, released all at once on Sky and NowTV, I found myself watching dramatised scenes of journalists being shouted down, politicians being heckled and cries akin to taking back control.

The Loudest Voice follows the potted history of Roger Ailes, the former president of the conservative Fox News network in the US, based on the 2014 biography The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman.

While here in the UK, it would be fair to say we are either unaware or ignorant of whomever runs our broadcast news stations, Ailes was a powerhouse figure, starting out as a Republican advisor to presidents Nixon, Reagan and H.W. Bush before moving into TV and spearheading the launch of Fox News in the 1990s.

In the years before his death in 2017, Ailes was at the centre of allegations of sexual harassment from staff at Fox News and The Loudest Voice doesn't shy away from these with Russell Crowe's performance as the former news chief every bit as creepy and unsettling as you might expect. In these moments, Crowe plays Ailes almost like a mob boss, creating a culture of fear and manipulation that is difficult to watch.

The series focuses heavily on Ailes' political manoeuvring, with the show's official synopsis going as far to describe its episodes as telling the story of how the firebrand executive became the de-facto leader of the Republican Party in the US. His aggressive editorial stance, particularly against the Obama campaign and administration from 2008, changed the nature of English-language discourse in broadcast news and it is here where Crowe comes alive in the role, revelling in opportunity to portray Ailes as the domineering demagogue at the heart of it all.

It was this element to The Loudest Voice that drew stark comparisons to the scenes that are so commonplace in the UK today; the almost rabble rousing approach to the issues that Ailes installed at Fox made it feel like witnessing the emergence of what would become the basis of the debate around Brexit over here. Even when reaching for escapism, it continues to haunt.

The Loudest Voice is uncomfortable but essential viewing, to better understand and learn how old, white men in positions of authority have been able to abuse their power for so long, as well as providing an interesting and illuminating take on just how much of a role major news corporations and networks have had in the rise of so-called fake news.