Saturday 28 May 2016

Rupert in the lions' den

If you're thinking of watching Nicky Campbell's The Big Questions tomorrow (and may the Lord have mercy on your soul if you are!), The Times Literary Supplement blog has a piece about it by one of the people who will be appearing on it: Christian writer Rupert Shortt.

I say "appearing on it", but the piece make its clear that the episode of TBQ to be broadcast tomorrow was actually recorded last Sunday, so he's already "appeared" on it. Rupert is describing his experiences on a programme the BBC hasn't yet broadcast. 

I had absolutely no idea TBQ was pre-recorded a week in advance. When you watch the Marr show and see Nicky's plug near the end of it, you see Nicky, his guests and his studio audience as if 'live', ready and waiting to spring into action five minutes later, just-as-live on BBC One. I'd also assumed there were 'live'. Not a bit of it it seems. Another little bit of BBC artifice, apparently.

Anyhow, I'm gathering from Rupert's piece that he found himself in the lions' den, so to speak. That wouldn't have been a surprise to regular TBQ viewers, but it seems to have been a big surprise to Rupert himself (bless him!):
Though promised “an in-depth encounter with more time than usual” by a Corporation researcher, I was largely relegated to the role of spectator. Apart from bowling me a googly (“Aren’t religions by definition exclusionary?” – a question almost impossible to answer in a nutshell), Campbell gave me no opportunity to speak at all. Instead, the baton was passed again and again to the shouters and mud-slingers, especially on the atheist side. One of the more constructive non-believers was kind enough to note the oddness of all this in a message to me afterwards. “Nicky is very uneven-handed in terms of the people he turns to”, this person wrote.
None of that, in fact, will surprise regular (or even occasional) TBQ viewers, and "shouters and mud-slingers" sums up much of the programme's regular invitations list to a tee.

It's all par for the course, frankly.

(P.S. The rest of Rupert's piece argues various religious points that I don't agree with {being a non-believer}, but enjoy hearing {being a very-slightly-regretful non-believer}, and I see his point about how his way of thinking gets repeatedly marginalised by the overwhelmingly secular BBC which confines religion to pigeon holes like Songs of Praise and Thought For The Day {his examples}.

...and Sunday, Sunday Morning Service, Prayer for the Day, Choral Evensong. Beyond Belief, etc {my extra examples}).

1 comment:

  1. And Mark Easton has been crowing about how the BBC is a beacon of objective light in a sea of mudslinging and nonsense! But it seems the BBC likes a bit of mudslinging as much as the "saloon bar bores" and "fact averse" populists Easton gets so exercised about in his little homily on the website.


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