Saturday, December 13, 2008

The BBC Owes Ed Stourton an Apology

Sitting in Moscow Airport waiting for the flight to board and have just been emailed the news that the BBC has fired Ed Stourton from the Today Programme, and in typical fashion didn't even tell him. He found out via a telephone call from a journalist. What a way to treat someone of his calibre. Mark Damazer should be grovelling on his knees with an apology.

Stourton is to be replaced by Justin Webb from October. He has been a stand in presenter before, and performed very well.

30 comments:

James Schneider said...

That really is low.

BJ said...

It really is high-class bastardry from Damazer, or Ceri Thomas, or whoever should have been responsible for telling him. What's more, the useless bumbling Jim Naughtie should have gone long before the urbane and talented Stourton. Sigh.

Dick the Prick said...

Webb has been an atrocious commentator through the Yankie elections and gets himself a promotion. Ed's been the best thing about Today for ages - plus ca change, plus c'est le meme change. Typical.

Half The Story said...

Stourton is superb.

I see they are going populist with the calibre of folk they have now, and far less posh.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

It's worse than that. They subsequently put out a statement claiming he was leaving to pursue other projects. Sturton said,"I did think it was wrong of them to say that I was leaving to pursue other projects, which is simply not true. I am leaving because they've removed me and there are no other projects."

So the BBC shit on their employee and then lied about him. Doesn't this tell you a lot about the kind of standards they apply? Do you enjoy paying for it?

The sooner this bunch of turds gets abolished, the better.

simon said...

It is a poor way to treat Stourton but it's about time he was moved on. His genial toffery is just tedious at that time of the morning - as someone said, when he and Sarah Montague are on together, it's as if you've wandered into the hospitality tent at Twickenham.

Dick the Prick said...

Not being an employment lawyer but this would appear slightly dodgy. Shoesmith got better treatment and look at Wossy with his company still getting paid.

fr said...

I once worked in a school where the headmaster did not have the guts to tell a teacher he had been sacked. He just left him off the following year's timetable. The teacher returned in September and just sat in the staff room until the head had to find him work to do....happy days.

Summer said...

Socialists are such nasty, lying, back stabbing people.

Raedwald said...

Big public corporations that don't have to make hire-and-fire decisions on commercial grounds have always been the most discriminatory employers in the country; capitalists generally don't practice 'taste' discrimination (why would they?). The public sector (which is what the BBC is)is also without morality or scruple. Give me a paternalistic, undiscriminating but honest entrepreneur as a boss every time.

This is clearly taste discrimination - it doesn't matter what a man or woman sounds like, it's the quality of their work that matters. Stourton was fine.

This will only stoke the licence poll tax revolt that's bubbling away. Not a smart move by Damazar.

Bird said...

We want Webb. Someone has to go.
It's got to be Stourton. He's the most civilised presenter on Today, but he's a bit of a toff and probably votes Tory. Get rid.

Diary of a Nobody said...

Why fire Ed Stourton who has the courage to stand up to interviewees of all political parties unlike the dreadfully partisan James Naughtie who is obviously a fully paid up Labour party activist given his toe-curling interviews with Labour Ministers!

Unsworth said...

Entirely unsurprising. But it is the BBC's loss. Yet another decent and professional operator has been cast aside by the cretinous 'Management' of the BBC

Unsworth said...

@ Simon

You're demonstrating your Class Prejudice quite nicely.

@ Bird

Ditto.

simon said...

I think Bird was being ironic and my objection wasn't so much about class (I'm quite posh too) as about his frequent forays into genial inanity.

Unsworth said...

@ Simon

Didn't see any reference to "genial inanity" in your original. And actually how posh are you? Do tell. I really, really want to be impressed.

Presumably Bird can speak for him/her/its self.

simon said...

Posher than John Prescott but not as posh as David Cameron. Somewhere close to William Hague but with a nicer accent. Does that help?

Howard said...

An odd decision. Stourton is very good and certainly better than the awful Davis, who can't conduct an interview to save his life.

Stourton has not been presenting much recently so I thought something was up. Also strange, is that Damazer and Stourton were at Cambridge together. Either it was not the former's decision or they have fallen out. Clearly something has gone amiss. Or was it just a communication cock up?

They have replaced the wrong guy. I think Stourton is good, balanced and interviews well. Davis is the man for the chop. Like this and in so many other ways the BBC is losing the plot.

strapworld said...

Could not agree more, iain.

ed Stourton has been the presenter of reason and fairness on the Today programme.

IDEA...perhpas David Cameron should snap him up. Such an excellent, respected journalist and broadcaster as Mr Stourton would add class and respectability to the Tory cause!

Nigel said...

>>Webb has been an atrocious commentator through the Yankie elections<<

Couldn't agree more. He's always been two steps behind what's happening (was, for example, convinced Clinton would win way beyond the time it was obvious she'd lost), and rarely questions the official line.

The treatment of Stourton is disgraceful. And he's a better broadcaster than Naughtie.

"Genial toffery" ?
Simon, a remark like that is tedious at any time of the day.

Bird said...

Unsworth

Please read my post, 6.03pm, again and reconsider your unkind interpretation.

Gallimaufry said...

Can Ed Stourton dance?
The realpolitik is that Justin Webb is returning from Washington soon and will need a suitable berth. Today has a blatantly Labour Scotsman, a Welshman, an Englishwoman, a gay Englishman and a heterosexual Englishman. So who in diverse, anti-discriminatory Airstrip One gets the shove? If only Stourton was a foul-mouthed bully with the mind of a yoof the BBC would treat him decently.

WV mated

DespairingLiberal said...

Some of the papers are saying he is being sacked for allegedly insulting the late Queen Mother in his recent satirical book. Does anyone know more?

Personally I find the obsessive belief amongst many in this blog that Today is staffed by Labour toadies to be a bit off the mark. I recall very strongly that throughout the Thatcher years, many on the left and also centrists felt that the Beeb had lurched to the right. The sad truth is that Auntie will always have to be careful about the government in power as they control the purse strings.

Many Today interviews seem to go through a pretense of being sharp or critical, whilst avoiding really tough questions. Many of their guest politicians have done extremely shabby or unpleasant things, which everyone knows about, but about which they are never asked. There are negotiations that take place before every interview along the lines of "don't ask this" and "don't say that" or we don't send our chap. All the parties play this game.

Ralph said...

Justin Webb was very poor and partisan covering the US elections, while Edward Stourton was as impartial as it gets on the BBC.

Perhaps the BBC are just getting their team in place to cover an early General Election.

Unsworth said...

@ Simon.

"Help"? I'm not too sure, but it clarifies your assessment of your relative position.

Interesting that you've chosen politicians as examples. In my book politicians are almost never 'posh' de facto.

Such is the decline of Society, then.

Unsworth said...

@ Bird

As I see it, you cheeped " He's the most civilised presenter on Today, but he's a bit of a toff and probably votes Tory. Get rid."

What is that, if not "unkind"? What is that if not a manifestation of prejudice?

I'm sorry if you feel I was being "unkind". Clearly I'll have to consider my support of the RSPB, then.

trevorsden said...

Can someone tell me how we can trust the BBC to tell us the truth when they lie about sacking someone from such an important programme.

How can we trust them to tell us the truth or be objective about reporting on government lies a la knife 'statistics' for example

Paul Canning said...

Totally agree about Webb's coverage of the US election. I've been cataloging it on my blog over the past year.

Plus this is the same Webb who oversaw the truly, embarassingly awful election night coverage for the BBC.

And his coverage of race in the election was cringeworthy.

Dale readers not - Because he failed to hide his McCain-leaning sympathies and banged on about the wonders of 'the american way' I suspect they've hired a Tory.

Dick the Prick said...

Paul - yeah, I thought Dale did a good job on the Yanks - he stated his fluctuations, got loads of abuse at all times but was still impartial by setting out his stall. Whereas the BBC edit to such a degree that we're never given the resource of the £4bn org that we're paying for. It's bang out of order hence my decision to become a bbc refusnik - not a decision taken lightly. Been raised on it, but now, more than ever we need it and it has deserted us.

You can't buy love but sincerity sure comes cheap.

Joe Taylor said...

Glad someone else has noticed how atrociously awful Webb's US election coverage was.

It seemed like he had swallowed the campaigns' talking points hook line and sinker without ever bothering to leave his hotel room.

I sent him fuming e-mails on more than one occasion...