Sunday 24 June 2018

"Bye-bye, Dimbleby. Take that panto horse called Question Time with you"

BBC One's Question Time receives a full-scale hatchet job from Sky's Adam Boulton in today's Sunday Times, and David Dimbleby isn't spared either. He calls the programme a "pantomime horse" and wants it put down. It's a bracing read.

He's particularly opposed to "the bear pit element of the programme" which prioritises "heat over light" and involves "the ritual confrontation and humiliation of its guests" by a "self-selecting, juiced-up audience" - an audience that, "for all the BBC’s pretensions", is frequently "in no way 'representative' of British public opinion". He says:
Question Time is a lazy format. Its ugliness has contributed to the coarsening of public discourse.
He doesn't think the would-be ratings-grabbing "celeb add-ons" do the programme (or themselves) any favours either. 

There's a lot of truth in what Adam Boulton writes, but the BBC aren't going to drop Question Time (even though I agree they should - or at least drastically refresh its format). The BBC's "veneration" for it is too strong. With a new woman at its helm - and even the Tory culture secretary Matt Hancock is calling for David Dimbleby's replacement to be a woman-  it will doubtless sail on smugly for quite a few more years yet. 

As for David Dimbleby, the piece begins with an anecdote that's too good not to share: 


  1. I am not at all surprised by that anecdote. Dimbleby has the air of one of those grand Dukes of the Kingdom in olden times whom even the monarch dare not attack or offend. So even though he's male, pale, stale and Oxbridge, he has been allowed to carry on to the end of his eighth decade fronting a programme with a diminishing audience and declining credibility. Had he been despatched against his will, I have no doubt he would have taken his revenge with some pompous critique of BBC management. Now, the BBC know he will offer up only sweet words about the corporation.

  2. It's a telling anecdote indeed, although Dimbleby applied for DG once and didn't get it so there are limits.
    Yesterday Steve Richards was scathing about Question Time and today it's Boulton. Both are Labour through and through. I'm not disputing that Question Time seems stale and unsatisfactory in some ways but I wonder. Do these talkers have a gripe with the public having a say or do they not like what the public has to say? See Brexit.
    Sky News is quite bad in a partisan knee-jerk way - their political editor is an example (coming from Channel 4 News, hardly surprising) - and Boulton has been known to contribute some coarsening himself. During the refugee/immigration crisis, when someone mentioned detention, Boulton instantly raised concentration camps. That's not discussion; it's shutting down discussion. I've just realised I haven't seen Boulton for ages. Is he still on Sky?

    1. You raise a good point. The PC globalists no-borders crowd don't want a more free debate, they want less. So they would probably go for more structured programmes where the discussion is steered along PC tramlines. You are right that, for all its faults, the occasional anti-PC comment does get through, which is more than the case on the news in general.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.