There was much disquiet among rival broadcasters over the weekend when it emerged that Theresa May was doing yet another interview with Andrew Marr. The infamously humourless, bad-tempered Marr Show staff took the criticism from Sky News and co with their usual charm and good grace. The charge: that Marr and Number 10 have sewn up a cosy arrangement to lock out the other, more challenging broadcasters. Guido has had a look back over the last year or so, and it is true that Marr totally monopolises May’s Sunday appearances. The Marr Show routinely – and inexplicably – lets her get away with pre-recorded interviews, completely taking the pressure off the PM and letting her dodge up-to-date, real-time scrutiny. Since the election, May has only done Sunday interviews with Marr, completely shunning every other broadcaster…
15 July 2018 – Marr
17 June 2018 – Marr Pre-rec
4 March 2018 – Marr – Pre-rec
7 January 2018 – Marr – Pre-rec
1 October 2017 – Marr
30 April 2017 – Marr
22 January 2017 – Marr
2 October 2016 – Marr
4 September 2016 – Marr – Pre-rec
30 April 2017 – Peston
8 January 2017 – Ridge
Ridge has been in the penalty box ever since she – rightly – embarrassed May with the Trump “pussy” quote. Remember her face.
Is it healthy for the PM to only speak to one programme, and for that programme to repeatedly give her softball pre-rec interviews? This is a bad look for both Number 10 and Andrew Marr…
UPDATE: BBC insiders suggest these numbers are why politicians favour Marr:
New BBC pay figures out:
1. Gary Lineker – £1,750,000-£1,759,999
2. Chris Evans – £1,660,000-£1,669,999
3. Graham Norton – £600,000-£609,999
4. Steve Wright – £550,000-£559,999
5. Huw Edwards – £520,000-£529,999
6. Jeremy Vine – £440,000-£449,999
=7. Nicky Campbell – £410,000-£419,999
=7. Alan Shearer – £410,000-£419,999
=9. John Humphrys – £400,000-£409,999
=9. Nick Grimshaw – £400,000-£409,999
=9. Stephen Nolan – £400,000-£409,999
=9. Andrew Marr – £400,000-£409,999
And if you don’t want to pay their wages, you end up in court…
Iain Dale quite rightly calls out a classic piece of BBC bias, as he is introduced on Newsnight as a Brexit supporter whilst the strongly Remain views of Matthew Parris and Rachel Shabi go unmentioned. The BBC always do this – Guido is often introduced on the Beeb as being from a “right-wing website”, though you never hear BBC presenters talk about the left-wing Guardian or the left-wing Mirror, HuffPo, or New Statesman. Iain also pointed out that once again the Newsnight panel was two-to-one in favour of Remainers. Evan did wince a bit awkwardly before conceding the point. As ever…
Ridiculous interview with DD so far. Humphrys wastes four questions pointlessly asking why he didn’t resign on Friday. Who cares?
— Media Guido (@MediaGuido) July 9, 2018
Really wish they’d given the DD interview to Nick Robinson. Humphrys has blown it. #r4today
— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) July 9, 2018
Badly botched interview by Humphrys – so much substance to ask about going unasked.
— Iain Martin (@iainmartin1) July 9, 2018
Too much concentration on process — ask DD what is substance of white paper that has caused him to resign.
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) July 9, 2018
This is a very odd interview. No tough questions from Humphrys and odd rambling answers from Davis. @BBCr4today
— Mike Gapes (@MikeGapes) July 9, 2018
And we’re back to process. Mmmm
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) July 9, 2018
Imagine getting the first interview with the resigning Brexit Secretary eight hours after he quit… and doing this with it.
— Media Guido (@MediaGuido) July 9, 2018
Radio 4’s closest thing to drive time, PM, is without a presenter with stalwart Eddie Mair departing for the bright lights of commercial radio at LBC, where he will displace Iain Dale in the drive time prime slot. The BBC’s bitter ongoing gender pay row is said to be a factor in Mair, who was said to be unwilling to take a gender based pay-cut, going. Additional controversy over gender balance among the top presenting slots is an additional headache for the Beeb. Guido takes a look at the names doing the rounds at Broadcasting House…
Emma Barnett – Headline maker fast becoming a household name thanks to her fearless Brillo-style grilling of politicians. There would be push back from 5Live who want to keep her. Strong contender…
Carolyn Quinn – Already Mair’s deputy at PM with lots of relief presenting experience on the show. A move could perhaps free up the Westminster Hour for one of the other political correspondents. Would be a direct and predictable step up the ladder. Safe option…
Mishal Husain – Established presenter with internal reputation for even-handedness. With the Today programme said to be in turmoil, it is rumored numerous presenters are open to jumping ship. Logical move…
Martha Kearney – Huge experience of Radio 4‘s daytime news output over 11 years on The World At One. Top flight political experience at Newsnight, too. The WATO production team is shared with PM. Another who might be looking for a way out of the troubled Today programme…
Laura Kuenssberg – A huge boon for Radio 4 if Laura K were to spend more time on the station; would be an opportunity to walk straight onto a big show as the main presenter if the BBC’s Political Editor wanted to move from reporting to presenting. No sign of that yet though…
Robert Peston – Famous for his on air ‘banter’ clashes with Mair, Peston was a longtime contributor to PM before he defected to ITV and is said to love the programme. His Peston on Sunday show has been bumped to Wedenesday nights after ITV News at Ten. Time for a return to Auntie?
Vicky Young – Chief Political Correspondent who could move from reporting to full time presenting. Lots of experience on the BBC News channel.
Amol Rajan – the ubiquitous media editor can never be ruled out of any BBC presenter role.
The pressure is on to make the optics right around the appointment – remember the Question Time gig is also up for grabs, which may dissuade some.
Seymour Hersh has been given copious free airtime across all the networks during his UK book tour. Producers do not seem to realise that the once respected journalist has gone crackers in recent years and turned into Chris Williamson on steroids. Yesterday on the BBC Raido 4’s Media Show he asserted that Russia is not to blame for the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal (who he also referred to as having died, even though they survived):
“There’s bias all the time, this country’s riddled with bias, there’s a great dislike of Russia here, an instinctive dislike… The two Russians that were allegedly killed by nerve gas which is essentially impossible… I’ve been told the real story had little to do with Russia per se.”
Guido has yet to see any BBC, Sky or ITV presenter challenge Hersh on his propaganda for the Assad regime, either. The broadcasters are giving free PR to someone who denies the gas attacks in Syria and the Skripal poisoning…
Brutal put down for the “not serious” Defence Secretary. Some serious snark from Rachel Sylvester…
The conventional wisdom is that the BBC will appoint a woman to present Question Time. David Dimbleby is paid £450,000 a year, or £15,000 an episode. If he is replaced by a woman, gender pay sensitivities mean it is unthinkable that she could be given a pay cut. The Beeb would have to stump up the full £450,000. If a man is hired, however, insiders note, the salary could be slashed, potentially saving the BBC and licence fee payers hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. Tough one for Beeb bean counters…
Remember when Alan Sugar sent that xenophobic tweet about Gisela Stuart during the referendum? He’s gone one worse this morning:
The next series of the Apprentice was due to air on the BBC this autumn. Was…
UPDATE: And like that, it was gone…
Just been reading the reaction to my funny tweet about the guy on the beach in Marbella . Seems it has been interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people . Frankly I cant see that I think it’s funny. But I will pull it down if you insist .
— Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) June 20, 2018
UPDATE II: BBC to Sugar: you’re not fired!
Lord Sugar has acknowledged this was a seriously misjudged tweet, and he’s in no doubt about our view on this. It’s right he’s apologised unreservedly.
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) June 20, 2018
David Dimbleby is stepping down after 25 years presenting Question Time. As ever, Guido gives you your runners and riders…
- Kirsty Wark: The early hot favourite. Question Time is produced in Glasgow, where Wark lives, and they have always wanted to be produced full time from that location. Wark recently declared her interest in the job, in an interview which suggested she knew this was coming and wanted to roll the pitch. Kirsty’s Newsnight shifts have been cut down now Evan Davis and Emily Maitlis do an equal number of programmes. Newsnight editor Esme Wren may be keen to privately push for Kirsty so she can hire her own special correspondent / third presenter. Would be a very logical move…
- Emily Maitlis: The perceived wisdom at the Beeb is that it has to be a woman, and Maitlis is closely in behind Wark as the early second favourite. Emily has been at Newsnight for over a decade. She will be up there.
- Andrew Neil: If the BBC wanted the broadcast veteran who is the best at holding waffling, question-dodging politicians to account, Brillo would be a shoo in. Not sure what it would mean for his post-Question Time show This Week, alas. It would trigger Owen Jones and Andrew Adonis…
- Huw Edwards: Huw has been waiting for Dimbleby to retire for years. The Beeb originally promised him that 2015 would be Dimbleby’s last election, at which point he could take on his responsibilities, only for Dimbers to stick around for the referendum and 2017 general too. Edwards has long been seen as Dimbleby’s successor…
- Emma Barnett: Rising star who would liven the show up and put the fear into the guests. Guido can see her in the chair one day. But has it come a bit too soon for her this time round?
- Mishal Husain: Would she want to do it if it means not being the lead Today programme presenter in the post-Humphrys future? Her audition hosting the BBC’s 2017 election debate did not go to plan…
- Kirsty Young: Has been at Desert Island Discs since 2006. Though she doesn’t need the money and might not fancy the hassle.
- Jeremy Vine: Last week Vine announced he is replacing Matthew Wright on Channel 5 and juggling that show with his Radio 2 gig. Bet he’s kicking himself…
- Fiona Bruce: Seen a less exciting but safe option.
- Nick Robinson: Another not very exciting option.
- Victoria Derbyshire: Quite a step up from her current programme.
- Eddie Mair: Could he take the pay cut?
- Matthew Wright: Hotly tipped by Buzzfeed media man Mark Di Stefano.
Carole Codswallop has done it again. The top Observer sleuth has been forced to delete yet more error-strewn tweets after launching an unhinged attack on the BBC. During her meltdown last night about Isabel Oakeshott being invited onto Question Time, Codswallop launched a pile-on against the Beeb’s head of live political programmes, Rob Burley, demanding an explanation. Her tweet tagging Burley was retweeted more than a thousand times. For hours Burley was under attack from hundreds of tweets from Codswallop’s crazy legion of followers. Just one problem: Burley has nothing to do with Question Time, which is produced by the independent production company Mentorn.
12 hours later, Carole deleted the tweet and apologised.
She also tweeted claiming that, during her Marr appearance with Oakeshott, they didn’t ask her about her Observer story about Shahmir Sanni. They did. That has now been deleted. This is basic stuff…
Damian Collins wants to know if Arron Banks took Moscow gold to fund the Leave.EU campaign. Arron wanted to appear in front of the DCMS Select Committee, then he said he wouldn’t go, now he says he’ll see them next week. Collins versus Banks should be fun…
Tracey Ullman has been filming in Walton-on-Thames this morning dressed in full Corbyn attire standing in front of a mocked up Labour Live tickets stall. The writers have had plenty of inspiration. Sure this is going to go down well with Corbynista Twitter. Guido can’t wait…
Guido can reveal that Liz Gibbons is the new editor of Victoria Derbyshire:
I am delighted to announce that the new editor of the Victoria Derbyshire Programme will be Liz Gibbons.
In a field of very strong candidates, Liz stood out thanks to her excellent record of delivering television journalism and programming of the highest standards alongside genuine innovation in multiplatform storytelling. Her vision for the programme will build on the reputation it has rightly earned for seeking out and driving forward original stories, and ensure that the audience remains at the heart of its agenda.
Gibbons was famously the acting editor at Newsnight who oversaw their disastrous false story about Lord McAlpine. Read about her role in the story here. Look forward to her “excellent record of delivering television journalism and programming of the highest standards” on Victoria Derbyshire…
Owen Jones has written a long whinge about Andrew Neil calling for him to be “freed” from the BBC. The last person to demand Brillo’s sacking was Andrew Adonis, which tells you everything you need to know about the state of Owen at the moment. His article has also been endorsed by Kremlin useful idiot Chris Williamson, who was never really one for press freedom.
Brillo is objectively Britain’s best political interviewer – and he dishes it out equally to Brexiters, Remainers, Tories and Labour spokesmen. The only people with a reason to want him out are those seeking to swerve accountability, something which caught up with Owen in the video above. Naturally we have never heard any complaints from Owen about the likes of James O’Brien presenting the Beeb’s political programmes. A taste of Corbyn’s Britain, where his commissars choose which journalists get to interview Labour politicians on the BBC. Chilling…
UPDATE: It seems like only yesterday that Momentum were lionising Brillo…
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) February 21, 2018
A very pleasing dig at the BBC’s new gender quota for TV guests from Julia Hartley-Brewer on Marr this morning. Julia, who was discussing the gender pay gap story on the sofa alongside Polly Toynbee, said:
[…] Read the rest
“I know obviously that we are making up the gender quota for expert commentators for the BBC today.