Tuesday 10 September 2013


Ian Katz's editorship of Newsnight began last Monday. 

His editorial choices have been interesting, shall we say. Last night, we got the Arctic Monkeys.

Ian Katz is clearly trying to put a bit of trendy pep back into BBC Two's battered flagship, that forlorn Fighting Temeraire which, due to poor viewing figures and a string of self-inflicted wounds (Savilegate, Lord McAlpine), looked in danger of being tugged to its berth and broken up.

'Trendy pep' is probably how he sees it. 

Last week saw two separate features on mobile phones, accompanied by a request for viewers to record short films on their mobile phones, some of which were then broadcast - a feature called 'Show Us Your Shorts'. Wednesday's edition talked about tattoos. Thursday talked to Woody Allen (though whether he's still classed as 'trendy' is open to dispute). He invited hip-and-happening Bidisha, George Monbiot, Mehdi Hasan and Jacob Rees-Mogg on last week. Great! (as they used to say on The Fast Show).

'Trendy' isn't the word that springs to mind when you think of Jeremy Paxman though, and he arched bis eyebrows throughout much of last week. 

Having done his duty and requested that 'short shorts' from viewers, he said, "I can hardly wait." 

The following day brought the first batch of videos, another hangdog expression and these sneers from the Newsnight presenter:
"Now in this programme's relentless attempt to clamber on any passing bandwagon, last night we invited viewers to send in home-made short videos of up to 30 seconds. We had an overwhelming response. Literally eighteen people took up the challenge and produced gems like this."
"Go to our website to see how to submit your...offering. Another thing to look forward to." 
His face was even more of a picture during the tattoo discussion - a debate provoked by Cheryl Coles's bottom - and his eyebrows rose so high they risked flipping over the top of his head and disappearing down the back of his neck. 

One of the guests during that discussion, Rachel Johnson, then tweeted:
After the tattoo chat on Paxman tore off his mike and said "that was the most ridiculous discussion I've ever chaired on Newsnight."
The Paxo-Katz spat may be gaining momentum now as Ian Katz's Guardian chums begin to rally to his side. 

Former Guardian editor Peter Preston, describing the "new-look" Newsnight as "pacy", has an article today entitled, New Newsnight could do without a peevish Jeremy Paxman. The first comment on Mr Preston's post seems to rather nail it: "Bit of a puff piece for your mate isn't it." Indeed.

This blog, of course, is choosing to follow Mr Katz's lead. Trendy gossip is now the order of the day. A plug for Mumsnet will be along shortly.

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