Sunday 22 September 2019


Here are some titbits that you may have missed from the dead tree press this weekend:


Someone like Nick Robinson, for example – another of the Today presenters – is just as good as Humphrys in the role of crazed dentist looking for holes in a politician’s teeth, but one feels that his motive is different. The essential Robinson message is “I know more about politics than you, so let me handle this”.

If we view Southampton as a microcosm of Britain, last night’s episode taught us two things: firstly that Boris Johnson is not quite as unpopular as his detractors - including the BBC - care to make out and secondly, that the Liberal Democrat’s new “cancel Brexit” policy is anathema to huge swathes of the general public. 

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel-Horwood, 54, has been banned by the BBC from using his ‘Fab-u-lous’ catchphrase outside the show. He was reportedly hoping to use it as the name for a range of wines. Judges cannot exploit their on-air roles for commercial gain.
Yes, I am undeniably privileged, something I am enormously thankful and grateful for. Socially, my opinions on class, the economy and politics are often dismissed because I’m “privileged” and therefore also “disconnected” — or, as the BBC referred to me when I was dropped from presenting Countryfile, “inaccessible”.

‘Oh, wearing jeans, are we?” It’s four in the morning last Thursday and John Humphrys has arrived for his final appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Actually, my trousers are pressed cotton, clean on and neater than anything he normally wears. But this is no normal day: it’s a special day and John has dressed special. In a suit. As he would have done growing up at home when something happened — a funeral or a wedding, perhaps. A working-class respect for time and place. For occasion.

One or two directors-general resented both his interviewing style and his prominence. I remember being told by a middle manager, in about 1998, that our interviewers should “go easy” on Blair’s government because it was terribly popular with the people. It was an instruction I totally ignored and certainly never passed on to Humphrys, who would have merely ratcheted up the ferocity a bit more. Later managers worried about the fact that he wasn’t quite woke, like all the rest of the BBC’s employees — forgetting that 75% of the country (that is, the licence fee-payers) aren’t woke either, and won’t be woke no matter how many alarms you set or how much our dozing bodies are prodded by the hyperbolic liberals in an attempt to make us so. 

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