Monday 29 August 2022

Roger and out...time for Amol again?

The closing section of this week's Feedback on Radio 4 was a question-and-answer session directed at its sacked presenter Roger Bolton, marking his very reluctant last appearance. 

As the embittered 73-year-old BBC veteran couldn't interview himself, the programme got a faithful listener to put the questions. She turned out, bless her, to be the living embodiment of a stereotypical elderly Radio 4 listener - with views to match.

Everyone loved Roger and she loved the BBC, and at the end of this long-farewell love-in they agreed on the corporation's importance/necessity.

Roger wasn't keen on the present BBC bosses though, and repeatedly slammed them for being reluctant to come on his show. Many of his criticisms will strike a chord with 'people like us' who know how the BBC handles such 'watchdog' programmes.

Unfortunately, he has also subsequently gone on to tell The Observer that Emily Maitlis was right, especially over her criticisms of the BBC's Brexit coverage for not being anti-Brexit enough.

I see in our archives a huge pile of often very long and detailed pieces slamming Roger Bolton for being biased on that issue - and several others. 

He's not been shy about it either, openly stating his disdain for criticism of the BBC from 'people like us'. 

He's never been a wholly impartial champion of the Radio 4 listener. Though he's had his moments, he's mainly been the champion of that stereotypical Radio 4 listener, and been given free range by the BBC, until this year, however far he's strayed on Feedback into various kinds of advocacy. 

And regular readers might also recall yet more exhaustingly long posts here recording his anger at John Humphrys after JH slammed the BBC, especially over pro-EU bias - despite JH later stating that he'd voted Remain himself.

As we said at the time, Roger Bolton truly took the hump against the former Today presenter for straying from the BBC straight and narrow. It also sounded like he strongly disagreed and that he took it as a personal affront. JH became a regular Feedback target thereafter. I wrote here, several times, about it seeming something like a vendetta.

What Roger Bolton's saying now as an 'ex-BBC presenter' is exactly what we claimed he believed while being an active BBC presenter because, whilst hiding being BBC impartiality, he frequently wasn't impartial, framing discussions in certain ways and asking particular questions in differing ways and giving his own opinions.

I know he has many fans - maybe some of you - but I think the new BBC management are well shot of him - as they are of Emily, Jon and Lewis. Clear the whole lot out, and take Mark Easton and Jeremy Bowen with them off to LBC too, to join James O'Brien and our old friend Rob Burley where people don't have to pay for them!

If only those BBC bosses can now hold off from the urge to really 'troll' their underlings - and the public - and make Amol Rajan the next Feedback presenter. I'm hoping if gobby Gary L gets the Golden Boot from Match of the Day after one too many egregious tweets about women footballers and bras that Amol will get that gig too. Plus Gardeners' World and Fake or Fortune? And if, as we hear, the BBC is bringing back that old ITV Saturday night classic of bread-and-circuses British TV Gladiators, I'm hoping Amol will be the new Ulrika alongside Mishal Husain. 

I've given up my old habit of predicting Newswatch's Samira Ahmed for every job vacancy as she never gets them, especially since her pay row triumph over the BBC. She may mouth off on Twitter from time to time, and join protests, and write articles, and be very anti-Nigel Farage, but she's much better at keeping her opinions to herself while broadcasting than Roger Bolton and she reads out views she almost certainly doesn't agree with without the Boltonian distancing tone. If only she hadn't humiliated the petty, vindictive, defensive BBC, a BBC that bears grudges.

Not that I'm stirring...

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