Saturday 18 July 2015

What, no James Naughtie?

There was a familiar complaint on this week's Newswatch about the number of BBC reporters/presenters reporting from Greece over the past week. The programme counted seven of them (on BBC TV alone) for starters - some making fleeting reports that some say could just have easily been presented from a studio in the UK. Wasn't this a waste of licence fee payers' money?

BBC News, however, feels that they got it about right and replied: 
We are as efficient as possible in deploying small teams to deliver balanced and comprehensive coverage and analysis, across radio and TV bulletins, business programming, the BBC News Channel, the World Service and online.
Time for an ITBB quiz. (We've not done one of them for a while.) Can you name the following BBC reporters/presenters reporting from Athens this week?


  1. I knew five of them. I shall be seeking treatment on Monday.

    The BBC just doesn't care, and keeps sending far too many people to give their 'unique' arrangement of the same words about the same story. How many times is this now? Seeing Tim Willcox reminds of the one time in recent memory (well, my memory, anyway) they didn't do this: the Chilean miners story. Until the last couple of days when we knew the rescue was at last starting to happen (Matt Frei's "cauldron of hope"), it was mostly just Willcox on the News Channel, and he did an excellent job. They had a couple other radio Beeboids, sure, but it wasn't bad until the rescue was imminent.

    1. I remember that too, David - and your reaction to Matt Frei parachuting in.

      The quiz answers were:

      1. Duncan Weldon
      2. Tanya Beckett
      3. Gavin Hewitt
      4. Mark Lowen
      5. Katya Adler
      6. Robert Peston
      7. Tim Willcox

      Seriously, I got them all. I had to think about Tanya Beckett for a while, but I have memories of Tanya on BBC Breakfast from many years ago.

      At the risk of bringing down the #everydaysexism brigade, I have fond memories of her and a young Sophie Raworth competing to see who could display more leg to a seemingly uninterested Jeremy Bowen.

      I've just dialled 999. My treatment obviously can't even wait till Monday. I may be a lost cause.

    2. Scrub "seemingly uninterested" there and add "seemingly comatose" instead.

    3. I didn't know Beckett or Lowen. Aside from Naughtie, they're only missing Huw Edwards. Weldon, however, is shaping up to be a Twitter bias batting champion. Yes, he is now a growing part of the collection. The latest in a succession of Leftoid Newsnight economics editors. Really unbelievable, except that it is now so predictable. Funny how they all leave the same opinions at the door. Allegedly.

      Aside from my objecting to Frei Boy on principle, I did think it was unfair of the BBC News bosses to let them all swan in for the main event. Willcox was there for over two weeks, I think. He was there because he's fluent in Spanish more than anything else, I guess. So is Frei, as it happens ("Cheeeeee-lay!"), but he was just awful.

    4. Given his much-reported background as the TUC's chief economist and a left-wing blogger, Duncan Weldon ought to be keeping his head down and behaving himself at the BBC. I'll check out his Twitter feed.

    5. Weldon was the TUC's chief economist? That makes him even more of a neo-Marxist moron than Paul Mason. YCMIU. They really have no shame. Was there even a thought given to the notion that maybe this time they ought to hire somebody not extremely far left of center?

  2. Speaking of Naughtie, was there ever any public statement from the BBC about him and his mate with the DNA business?

    1. That's a very good question. We last heard about that on 9th March last year.

      From what I can see, the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit finally published its ruling on 15th April 2014, and this was then published on the (barely-read) Corrections and Clarifications page website:

      The odd thing about its public summary is that it doesn't mention James Naughtie by name, despite upholding the complaint.

      The key bit is what action was then taken:

      "Further action:
      The Editor of Today discussed the findings with the team and emphasised the need for careful scrutiny of the claims of commercial companies and the avoidance of undue on-air promotion."

      So, there you have it. All that happened was that the Today editor discussed it with the Today team.

      The long slog by UCL to get anywhere is outlined in all its gory detail here:

      It makes for interesting reading, especially as UCL tried to have the matter taken further, up to the BBC Trust - but got nowhere with that. They don't seem at all happy with the BBC's further responses either.


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