Monday, December 15, 2008

Telegraph Column: Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

I'll avoid any Mark Twain references, but this morning I have written the Notebook column in the Telegraph, which you can read HERE. I write about my trip to Russia, the X Factor final and Ed Stourton.

By the way, should you wish to make your views known about Ed Stourton's sacking, feel free to email


Events dear boy, events said...

Iain, You are better placed than me to organise a petition to the BBC.

This has been disgracefully handled. The person that they should have dumped is Evan Davis.

Anonymous said...

Ed's a big boy, I'm sure he won't starve. I can't believe that this was just 'announced' in the manner we're led to believe. The rumour mill would surely have been in operation, employees always know that something's up. Do I care? No! Ed Stourton was sometimes more annoying than Noktee. Hard to believe I know, but I can't get worked up about this at all, and I can only think everyone else is using it as another opportunity to have a go at the awful BBC.

Trend Shed said...

I think I heard Stourton on the radio putting a difficult question to Harriet Harman - and he didn't let her off the hook on it.

The BBC need more journalists willing to hold politicians to account. Many political interviews these days sound more like party political broadcasts.

Desperate Dan said...

Oberleutnants Thompson and Damazer are clearing out of news and current affairs anyone who fails to understand that their only job is to ensure the reelection of Gordon Brown. The only broadcasters left will be men and women whose egos and salaries trump any sense of decency or integrity - in other words, clones of Labour politicians.

Blackacre said...

The one they should have dumped is Humphreys - he is well past his sell by date nowadays. Loves the sound of his own voice with politicos and excruciatingly painful to listen to when interviewing on a non-confrontational basis. Surprised to see someone asking for the head of Evan Davis - from where I listen he has been rather good.

Newmania said...

Not your best Iain to be brutal

Anonymous said...

I'm firmly with Blackacre on this, and have written:

I realise that this won't make a scrap of difference but, if 'you' were determined to refresh the line-up of presenters, why not put John Humphrys out to grass instead? He has become a dull parody of himself in the last
couple of years, delighting in the reputation of his aggression and
curmudgeonly interruptions, which he appears increasingly to wear like a perverse badge of honour to validate his effectiveness as an interviewer. Well, it's the law of diminishing returns, I'm afraid. The politicians have their shields up long before and throughout his formulaic onslaughts, during
which his dull old punches come with all the speed and shock of a washed-up journeyman boxer. Ed Stourton's gentler, more forensic manner is far more effective in eliciting the candid confession or the inadvertent slip into wholly unaccustomed honesty. Brutally, he's better at the job.

Nobody could ever fault the plan to give a presenting role to Justin Webb; he's done an excellent job in the USA (notably through the long election process) and will be well-suited to 'Today'. Evan Davis keep getting better and better, as does Sarah Montague. Jim Naughtie is unexciting but reliable. Humphrys, however, deserves to be culled soon to put him out of our misery. He is (checks) 65 now, a generation older than both Stourton and most of the politicians, and is spread far too thin on radio and television, to say nothing of his books. His wearily hypocritical swipes at
'the rich' and privileged get increasingly formulaic and unconvincing. Set the old geezer free to do chat-shows, 'Yorkshire Post' lunches and after-dinner speaking, while allowing him to keep coining it by reading off
cards on 'Mastermind' and other such pap. Let him slip into Robert Robinson's chair on 'Brain of Britain'; he could shuffle through that for another 15 years - (checks) until he's Robinson's age today, indeed - if he's utterly determined to give the country the opportunity to listen to him.

Still, it's never going to happen, is it? For a mere listener to question the BBC is lèse-majesté, and can be cheerfully ignored as an ill-informed rant. That being the case, could the editors at least put a metaphorical boot up Mr. Humphrys' hindquarters, and get him to sharpen his act up. The longer he's allowed to bask in the belief that the job is a sinecure and his for as long as wants it, and that he's a much-loved, iconic, fixture in our
cultural lives, the more he will simply sleep-walk through his morning offices, unable even to tell us the time correctly. Could you at least consider the possibility that he's no longer very good at his job, and needs
to be given a final warning? 'We' pay the bills, and 'we' deserve that courtesy of you.

Desperate Dan said...

Sarah Montague should go because of her demented flirting with publicity hungry David Milliband last week. Her behaviour succeeded in completely neutralising his pisspoor performance in the immediately preceding interview.

James Naughtie should go because, apart from his loyalty to Brown and the Labour Party, he's sluggish, dull and unoriginal.

Anonymous said...

Have already written to the Today programme.
The one to go should be Naughtie, for being biased in favour of NuLab, and Humprhies who is now becoming a "Spitting Image" replica of himself.
Evan Davies is improving all the time, and Sarah can sometimes be quite good.

Summer said...

My complaint on this and so many other BBC issues will be non-payment of the TV licence, until honesty, decency and British cutlure is restored.

Anonymous said...

The BBC isn't perfect I know, but when would people complain about SKY which showed a snuff movie recently. And are so pro Labour I wonder if they'll soon be announced as the official media outlet of the party.