Sunday 31 May 2015

The Curious Incident of the Panorama Episode that Disappeared in the Night

The fates have conspired against me here.

I checked out an old episode of Panorama on iPlayer yesterday - the one where Panorama brought in famous U.S. pollster Nate Silver before the election to answer the question, Who Will Win the Election?

I wanted to check how well Nate did, given how effusive presenter Richard Bacon had been about his astonishing accuracy as a pollster.

The answer is that he was no better or worse than anyone else. If I remember the numbers correctly, he predicted the Conservatives would have 282 seats, Labour 270, the SNP 48, the Lib Dems 24 and UKIP 1. (Well, he got the UKIP figure right!)

I thought I'd post about it this morning but that I'd better just check that those figures are correct first - as I like to be accurate about such things.

Unfortunately overnight the 'watch again' option has been removed from this episode. 

With one other exception (an episode about Ebola), every other Panorama edition from the past year is still available to watch again, so the decision to remove the option for this one edition is a very deliberate move on the BBC's part.

Whose blushes are being spared here? Nate Silver's or the BBC's? 

Maybe it's time to send Darragh MacIntyre in to investigate.


  1. Removal of material in its entirety is always interesting.

    Of course the BBC can legitimately claim it only has so much space for so long, but what goes vs. stays can be telling. Especially if the BBC obliterates any record at all.

    One of my complaints way back in the day was about a story that had vanished,

    The BBC initially dissembled, but after faffing around opted instead to claim that it had had to be removed for 'copyright reasons'.

    That it was unflattering to a BBC icon was clearly incidental.

    I was trying to pursue it, but by sheer coincidence they decided I was expedited at the same time, so it alllll went away.

  2. Here are the final predicted numbers on the fivethirtyeight blog:

    Cons: 278
    Labour: 267
    SNP: 53
    LibDem: 27
    DUP: 8
    Sinn Fein: 5
    Plaid C: 4
    SDLP: 3
    Greens: 1
    UKIP: 1
    UUP: 1
    Other: 2

    Silver got the SNP sweep close enough (but who didn't?), but he got the two main parties and the LibDems completely wrong. Of course, the excuse is that he was using seriously flawed polls in the first place.

    Whose blushes are being spared? The BBC's, and no mistake. The do not want to open that still-festering wound. Everyone saw their reaction on election night. They are still angry about what happened. The polls showing things so close helped the Tories, according to one BBC News dimwit. Which is kind of an insult to Labour supporters, as if they wouldn't work so hard to help their side get over the top.

    Labour's disastrous election loss was a double-edged sword for the BBC. Not only did they get things so wrong, making the Beeboids feel like they looked bad personally and professionally, but the @#$^ing Tories got a majority! How could they have let that happen? If only they had known, perhaps they could have done something differently. The announcement of the shock exit polls at the beginning of their election night coverage came like the news that a beloved king had been killed in battle. Marr's anger was about more than just the polls getting it wrong. I'd say the only thing missing from the BBC's coverage was the cry for revenge, but Marr pretty much expressed the desire for that, too. On the pollsters, anyway.

    The stunned expressions on all their faces was so obvious. The somber mood only increased as the night went on and the Tory numbers piled up, lightening slightly only occasionally by nervous, gallows humor. The following day was all about how Labour could recover, finding excuses, placing blame for their downfall.

  3. If only the BBC could have "lost" that snowjob puff piece for St Nicola of Sturgeon that they dared to put out last night by way of an "episode" of Panorama.
    Bloody holiday home movie as done by her best made from school-one Shellfish Jaffa, or suchlike.
    Utter disgrace-might as well been a PPB on behalf of the Cult of the SNP.
    Or Alex Salmond as he prefers to be called.
    And-we the English taxpayers-paid for Shelley and Nicki to film their "Friends Reunited" showpony of a show,,,why didn`t the Scots be forced to pay for that fried bollock of a programme?


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