Sunday 11 February 2018

"That was very good"gate

Penny Mordaunt - a very good interviewee

"That was very good". 

Regular viewers will know that he often says things like that to his guests, especially his final guests and sometimes we viewers get to overhear what he's saying. 

As Iain Martin has written, if a presenter tells an interviewee "that was good" it doesn't mean "I agree." It means that was punchy, interesting, on point, newsworthy.

Unfortunately, the world of Twitter being the highly politicised thing it is, such behaviour can be misinterpreted. And the world of Twitter has gone into overdrive this morning, misinterpreting it like crazy. 

And the programme's editor is - as you'd expect (from him) - replying:

Angela R: ‘That was very good’ he whispers to Tory guest when he thinks cameras have cut away. Rob Burley, hope there’s an explanation for this one? Doesn’t look good...
Rob Burley: Yep, the best explanation of all. He's a human being who said well done to a guest. Not approving any message but just to be pleasant. Shame there's not more of that on here.
TheNewsBunny: Put yourself in the viewer's shoes, Mr Burley. Does he/she think they are watching a challenging, forensic interview if the interviewer is going to lean in at the end and whisper "Very good"?
Rob Burley: Well, first up judge the interview itself which was very firm. Second, because of the orthodoxy of all this you wouldn't ideally do that on air. But it's a bit silly though I understand why. Third, AM thought off air so just being nice, he thought, off air.
Richard Rickwood: Ah, there’s nothing like the good old impartial BBC is there?..Caught with your pants down there Andrew Marr, Marr Show.
Rob Burley: Caught being a human. Pleasant, friendly, normal. Give it a go!
bheardmedia: Watch Andrew Marr give Tory International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt MP a thumbs up and tell her  "that was very good." When he thought he was off camera!!
Rob Burley: Watch as people hate on someone just being nice and friendly and human (as AM is to all guests). It's tragic.
Denis Hinds: Lol. Anyone see Jug Ears Marr give  Tory Penny Mordaunt a thumbs up & say her interview was OK? Classic! The weekly Party Political Broadcast for the Conservative Party continues apace. - followed by 'The Spitfires'. Thank God for them at least.
Rob Burley: Not only is Andrew Marr acting suspiciously like a normal person being friendly, he also has "jug ears".
Philip Tattaglia: Andrew Marr caught off camera whispering to Penny Mordaunt ...... "that was very good"
Rob Burley: It's called being polite and human and warm and decent Phil. C'mon, give it a go!

Update: 5.30 pm

Rob Burley's bad day at the office continues. 

The Corbynista mob (and do they seem to be largely Corbynistas) are absolutely drunk on anti-BBC conspiracy theories today, thanks to "That was very good"gate.  

'Give us proof that Andrew Marr has said such nice things to left-wingers!', the mob are demanding this afternoon. 

It's seriously weird for someone like me, whose been heavily involved in the 'BBC bias' bits of the internet for night on a decade now. It's all eerily familiar. It's as if the whole Right-dominated 'BBC bias' world of the internet a few years back has swung 180 degrees and the Left have simply taken over from the Right and launched themselves from exactly where the Right left off, using the same language and the same conspiracy theory-dominated way of thinking about the BBC.

Rob's just announced that he's "off to gnaw [his] arm off in sheer bewilderment and frustration". A BBC colleague over the water is feeling his pain:

And a former BBC colleague - former blog favourite, Gavin Esler - is riding to the rescue too: 

Maybe this is a cautionary tale about Twitter. Engage with its insanity with good intentions and risk being drowned by its insanity. 


  1. I’m not a Twitter follower, so I don’t know how typical this is. But it does make you wonder, bearing in mind Marr’s past political allegiances, just how far left you have to be to keep some of these people happy? Worrying times.

  2. I am still on the naughty step, in Coventry, under a cloud. Apparently.

    And this after acting all supportive.

    It’s soooooo unfaiiiiir!


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