Weatherman Who Warned of Extreme Heat Recounts His Viral ‘Don’t Look Up’ TV Moment

“It was my duty” to warn of the dangers of extreme heat, meteorologist John Hammond says after his exchange with a skeptical GB News presenter went viral on Twitter. 

As an extreme heat wave broke records in the United Kingdom this past week, a video of a meteorologist has been making the rounds on social media as a news anchor told him to be “happy about the weather,” in a scene that many users are comparing to one from the 2021 movie “Don’t Look Up.” 

A clip from Don’t Look Up, and then a real TV interview that just happened

— Ben Phillips (@benphillips76) July 20, 2022

The weatherman, John Hammond, warned GB News viewers in the days leading up to the heat wave that temperatures could be deadly for “hundreds, if not thousands” of Britons.

“By early next week, you can scratch 20 degrees [Celsius, or 68°F], it could well be 40 degrees [104°F],” said Hammond during the July 14 broadcast. “I think there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of excess deaths; the charts that I can see in front of me are frightening. So, we all like nice weather but this will not be nice weather — this will be potentially lethal weather for a couple of days.”

GB News Anchor Bev Turner was skeptical of Hammond’s warning. “I want us to be happy about the weather; I don’t know whether something’s happened to meteorologists to make you all a little fatalistic and harbingers of doom,” she said. 

“No, and we are seeing more and more records, more and more frequently, and more and more severely,” Hammond responded. “Heat waves are becoming more extreme; this is yet another one which is coming down the tracks towards us.” 

The clip went viral with 21.2 million views on Twitter. Commentators on the site have lauded Hammond for his calm demeanor during the interview, writing that they would have responded to Turner with more anger. 

A representative for Turner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hammond, who is director of and was previously a forecaster for the BBC,  spoke with Bloomberg Green about the encounter. The transcript has been edited for length and clarity. 

We know that the comparison between you and the interviewer, Bev Turner, has sparked some comparisons with the movie “Don’t Look Up.” Do you think that’s apt? 

Well, first of all, I’ve never seen the movie, so I’m coming into this slightly cold as it were and have been slightly ambushed by the interest that it’s raised. But I think it’s a good thing that by hook or by crook, it has stirred up a conversation between people on Twitter. 

As a meteorologist of many years, it’s been quite striking, the build up to this event — the heat wave in the UK — in as much as I’ve never seen charts as concerning as the charts that I saw towards the back end of last week. There was increasing agreement between computer models that the UK was going to see unprecedented heat, and that people were just not prepared for that, because people live within their own experiential evidence, if you’d like. And the boundaries that they expected were gonna be challenged with this heat. 

So, I think it was my duty as a meteorologist to flag up the expected impacts of this extraordinary heat on not only the vulnerable, but on perfectly fit people who are not used to experiencing 40 degree heat in the UK, and the impact that it has on infrastructure, health, transport, et cetera.

Were you surprised at the reaction you received on social media or from Bev Turner’s response?

I wasn’t surprised by the reaction from Bev Turner. I’m not picking her out individually. I’m just not surprised because I think generally speaking, when people hear that it’s going to be hot and sunny, the default setting, not only amongst media presenters, but generally amongst much of the public is, “Ooh, that’s a good thing.” 

In Britain, in particular, where it’s often very gray and sort of cool, hot and sunny weather is a novelty and it makes people smile: “Ooh, it’s gonna be lovely and sunny,” because it doesn’t happen very often. So I wasn’t surprised by her reaction when I said the story was “We’re gonna have a heat wave” — that’s generally treated by the media as a good thing.

Given that GB News has previously hosted climate skeptics, did you know what to expect during your segment?

I appear on GB News quite regularly as a pundit who gives commentary on the weather. My attitude is that you’ve got to be in it to win it. I have reputable, scientific credentials. And I see my role as like the voice of science, and if I can use that helpfully to an audience whose default setting might be to question the validity of the science, then I think I have a role to play. 

More stories like this are available on

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.