Sunday 3 February 2019

Two anecdotes

I was the “woman at the back” on last Thursday’s Question Time from Winchester. On a previous occasion, I was the “woman in pink”. How Question Time has changed. These days you are obliged to supply your personal details and political affiliation in order to get a ticket. This is presumably to get audience balance, but who decides what the balance should be is not clear. 
The choice of panellists also raises more questions than it answers. Apart from politicians, the BBC calls on a limited list of journalists and so-called independent thinktank representatives (lobbyists). The usual suspects, who somebody in the organisation has defined as right or left, crop up with monotonous regularity along with random celebrities who rarely make a relevant contribution. 
The format has changed considerably over the years, with the chair chipping in, interrupting the panellists and too often appearing to reveal their own prejudices. Many friends and colleagues refuse to watch the programme now but those who have stuck with it won’t have been reassured by Fiona Bruce’s brief and grudging non-apology for her embarrassing demonstration of ignorance. 
Karen Barratt

Meanwhile, BBC News, it is whispered, wants to shift Sarah Sands away from Today. Since she became its editor in 2017, Today has lost political clout and listeners. Sands has wit, spirit and powerful contacts. At Today, she has discovered she can’t change the presenters; that power belongs to the head of news, Fran Unsworth. You have to be BBC born and bred to dodge such quagmires.


  1. What did the woman at the back, or previously as the woman in pink, say? Anyway, they've had an application form for years that asks about personal details such as ethnicity and so on.

  2. Odd comment there from Gillian Reynolds. So its boss is the head of News who wants to move the editor, Sarah Sands, who thinks there's a problem with presenters. Which presenters would she want to get rid of? I wouldn't have thought they'd lose listeners or political clout when they got rid of the skippy trippy giggler to PM. Gained listeners, more like, if there are others like me. Maybe it's the relentless political and social ideology and indoctrination on behalf of special causes, of the current regime.
    Joining the BBC from the outside world is like business people joining government administration at high level. It often doesn't work because they don't know their way around the system or the people who've grown up in it. James Harding found a similar problem at the BBC. He said he didn't know where the levers were.

    Gillian Reynolds was on The Media Show a couple of weeks ago when it was mentioned that the current head of Radio 4, Gwyneth Williams, was leaving. The presenter made a passing comment something along the lines that the replacement would have to fit with what Purnell wants.

  3. I'll repeat some previous offerings:

    1. The BBC is a multi-billionaire media empire. They have plenty of money to fund a proper audience selection procedure using reputable marketing agencies which guarantees balance across party affiliation, major issues, race, gender and so on.

    2. Sands it seems to me has no idea what Today is all about. Why would you set tricky brain teasers for the nation when people are busy with their early morning lives and half asleep probably?

    1. I know: they have Round Britain Quiz for that. And that's annoying enough as it is, without being on first thing in the morning.

      It's that misguided earnestness that characterises so much of what the BBC does.

  4. It's not the trivia so much
    15 years ago you could actually listen to the show
    But these days no, cos they are alays spitting their pseudo-liberal AGENDA in your face one gets sick and switches off.
    It's made by MetroLiberals for Metroliberals and s*d anyone else


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