iPlayer Radio What's New?
Listen
On Now : World at One
22/08/2014

On the Ropes - Andy Kershaw

Tuesday 28 April 2009, 10:00

Mark Damazer Mark Damazer

It is not often that we remove a programme from the schedule at short notice.

The 'On The Ropes' we had hoped to broadcast this morning in the end did not work. We were mindful of the background and, in particular, the strained domestic circumstances surrounding the break-up of Andy Kershaw's long-term relationship and the legal order, the result of which makes it very difficult for him to have significant access to his children.

We had hoped that we could explore the events leading to his personal and professional crisis and his subsequent efforts to recover while bearing in mind the interests of other parties and providing them with the appropriate degree of privacy. In the end that was not possible. The programme was recorded and edited close to the day of transmission - hence the lateness of the decision.


Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 61.

    >>rockAJagger wrote: I was so looking forward to hearing Andy Kershaw's side of the story.

    But that is surely the nub of the problem. How balanced would it be for the BBC make an entire programme detailing one person's side of the story?

    Especially when that person's already told "his side of the story" to a court, which found it entirely unconvincing, and in numerous newspaper interviews?

    Especially when his victims will have no similar opportunities to publicise their "side of the story"? After all, they are not celebrities, so what chance the BBC will give them a whole programme for a platform?

    The concept of this programme was always woefully wrong-headed. Dropping it was the only sensible decision.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 62.

    I too would like to hear Andy Kershaw's cheery voice back on the Radio. The BBC's treatment of him has been disgraceful, right back to Radio 1 days. The pulling of this programme is just another sorry episode.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 63.

    Give the guy a break...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 64.

    John Peel was quite open about the fact that his survival during his earlier career at the BBC was due to the advantages of the 'old school tie'. This enabled him to play and say things that would have found most DJs out the door. In later years, he had established such a strong, loyal following that he could still get away with much more than most.

    In contrast, BBC managers have been very heavy-handed in their responses to Andy's occasional poke at the establishment, such as his report's of Peel's worries regarding working conditions and his criticism of Saint Bob the Geldoff. Andy has also been right to point out the contrast between his treatment and that of people like Johnnie Walker. I say, "Lay off!", and give Andy the same levels of respect, support, security, and toleration that you have willingly extended to those with posher accents over the years.

    As well as being and excellent DJ, Andy has been an exceptionally brave and adventurous radio journalist, particularly in his support for victims of political and social injustice. This adds irony to the injustice with which he has been treated by his employers. So, let's please put that in the past and start again. Let bygones be bygones and work with Andy to restore him to the leading position he should be occupying.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 65.

    I would just like to add my voice to all those previously made.
    I heard the trails and made a note to catch the evening broadcast, looking forward to hearing Andy's rehabilitation with the BBC.

    To pull the programme at such a late stage smacks of either lack of nerve or poor planning and research. There is nothing of immediate topical importance that required the programme to be recorded and edited so close to the broadcast time. Andy's interview in the Independent last autumn indicates the potential legal minefield. Negotiating a path through that minefield should have been in the producer's plan.

    I really enjoyed Andy's Radio 3 and occasional Radio 4 programmes and look forward to his return. This fiasco can't be good for Andy and is frustrating for his many fans and supporters.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 66.

    For me the pulling of this program is lame institutional judgment on the health and opinions of Andy Kershaw. To trail the interview so heavily and then pull it seems almost intentionally cruel and vindictive. Give the guy a break, not a kicking.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 67.

    There are particular sensitivities around material that involves children and their parents' troubled relationships. It is probably right, although a bit unsatisfactory for us listeners, if you decided to pull the programme and, if this was in the best interests of the family concerned, it is also right that you do not give details about this. We must trust your judgement on this, and curb our disappointment as it would have been a very interesting broadcast.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 68.

    I hope Andy gets to read the above comments, as they show just how much he is missed. And I wish my fellow Lancastrian a speedy return to the airwaves. I can only echo the comments above on his immense contribution in making world music better known, especially in Britain. And his opinions are usually worth listening to. I can't say I agree with his views on 'Woman's Hour', if the comment above is true, but his Independent article on Geldof's preference for 'his tedious friends' over African performers for Live 8 (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/andy-kershaw-the-myth-of-saint-bob-saviour-of-africa-494349.html) was spot on. And his outrage over how the BBC can keep Ray Gosling off the airways is genuine and, again, spot on. Let's have some more of Ray, too.

    I'd liked to have heard the programme, but the qualms the BBC had were serious ones. I can empathise with Andy: it took me years to reestablish a relationship with my daughters after their mother and I split up. The end of a partnership can be very rough and damaging, even without any added complications of drink, etc., and things are said and done that do not help. And, according to the newspapers and the judiciary, Andy has done a lot of damage.

    My advice for what's it's worth: Andy needs to get his former partner to trust him again with the children, and move on from his relationship with their mother. Easy for me to say, eh? But what else can he do? He must understand for the sake of his children, and his peace of mind, that that's where he needs to put a lot of work. I'm sure he knows this, but it is such a hard thing for anyone to do.

    Maybe an 'On The Ropes' programme, however much I'd have liked to have heard his Rossendale Valley tones on air again, may not have been the best way to do this. His past behaviour has done him no favours, but what (little) I have read about his ex-partner Ms Banner's thoughtful and effective support for WaterAid leads me to believe that she is a sensible person, so I think that he can take heart. However, she is only human and has genuine concerns which need to be taken with the utmost seriousness.

    The second and far less important priority for him: get the BBC to trust him with work again. Come on, BBC, look how much people miss him. You give plenty of work to some very lightweight broadcasters (examples in the comments above, and don't get me started on uber-dullard Alistair Cooke again). Please consider Mr Kershaw and your - his - listeners (and don't forget Ray Gosling). Thank you.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 69.

    Only in the most extreme cases of marital breakdown, where a partner presents an actual threat to the safety of the children is it excusable for the custodial parent to oppose or deny access. And no matter how bitter the split it is never excusable to use the children as weapons against the other parent, a parent who does not recognise this will cause lasting damage to the child. The welfare of the children is paramount.
    Andy Kershaw is certainly not a violent man and the stupid things he has done stem from the fact that he loves his children to an extent that he has put his career and reputation on the line in order to see them. His partner is using this 'weakness' simply to score points - disgraceful !

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 70.

    Have a look at Andy Kershaw's comments in the Independent this morning (1 May).

    I hope the BBC reconsiders or provides a more detailed explanation.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 71.

    >>>mylevreeshey wrote:..."where a partner presents an actual threat to the safety of the children is it excusable for the custodial parent to oppose or deny access....Andy Kershaw is certainly not a violent man..."

    I'm not sure how you can pronounce with such certainty on Kershaw's pacific nature. Have you met him, especially after he's had a few?

    Let's not forget though that he *is* a drink driver (convicted). That makes him a threat to the safety of his own children, and everyone else's.

    Given the number of children that end up splashed across the roads every year as a consequence of drink driving, I consider it to be pretty close to unforgivable. This alone should make the BBC stay well clear of Kershaw.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 72.

    I work in this industry so find the bare faced cheek of Mark Damazer incredibly galling.

    Firstly I think his reasons for cancelling the show are due to cowardice, a fear of legal action, however this could have been avoided by affording a right of reply to the 'other parties' as happens on other programmes. Not making a programme because someone might get upset didn’t stop the BBC reporting the viewing habits of Jacqui Smith’s husband, where were their thoughts for their children on that occasion?

    Secondly if we accept his statement at face value this is a damning public comment from the Controller of BBC4. He has effectively said that his highly paid and publicly funded management team are so incompetent that they can't schedule a pre-recorded interview with sufficient time to allow for post production; or he is saying that interviewer John Humphries, his producer and editor are so talentless that they are unable to make a show with an interviewee who has over 25 years of broadcasting experience. If true then either of these should result in disciplinary action for those involved, what are they being paid for? And if they can't manage it why haven’t they been fired?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 73.

    To: Mr Mark Damazer
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    From reading the majority of the posts above (and much media coverage this week) it seems your explanation for cancelling the programme is inadequate; both to the public and to Andy Kershaw (ref: "The Independent" article today).

    What is worse is your reluctance to offer any further clarification. Perhaps you have decided that further explanation is not required but this is clearly not the feeling of the majority of contributors above and certainly not the feeling of Andy Kershaw.

    We have experienced this type of behaviour many times before. This feeling that, as 'the king' of radio 4, you always know best and do not have to explain your reasoning.

    However, may I remind you that you are a "Public Servant" and therefore are answerable to your listeners. Radio 4 is not your own private radio channel to do whatever you please with. It is owned by the license fee & Tax payers and you should answer to them.

    I, like many others, was looking forward to hearing this edition of On the Ropes. Please can you provide a better explanation why we should not be permitted to hear it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 74.

    Some cracking posts here and I echo #70 though I hope the Beeb can broadcast this programme soon. Mr Damazar, an answer please.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 75.

    It seems to me, having read comments on this blog and elsewhere, that there are two separate issues. The first is the making of the programme in the first place and its timing. Andy Kershaw is a public figure, whose private life has therefore to some extent become public property. This is certainly a result of the interest shown by the media in making his misfortunes public, but it is also by his own hand. By recording the interview he clearly intended to draw attention to himself and in lengthy interviews for the Times, before the programme was scheduled to be broadcast, and the Independent after it was pulled, he has reinforced the impression that he actively wishes his private life to become public. In so doing he has compromised the privacy of his children. It seems odd that sufficient time was not allowed between the recording of the interview and its scheduled broadcast for all interested parties to be consulted. We cannot know what went on behind the scenes, but it seems likely that Ms Banner learned about the broadcast as a result of the extensive trailing last weekend and not by being consulted beforehand. The very difficult situation in this family is apparently not yet resolved, so it is unfortunate that the BBC considered it appropriate to broadcast what could only ever be a one-sided opinion that was very likely to do damage.

    The second issue is the BBCs response and continued practice of sloppy editorial standards. Im sorry to say this because I am a supporter of the BBC. I have lived overseas and would rather have our broadcasting service that of any other country I have lived in, but it is such a pity that it gets it so wrong from time to time. Comment has been made earlier in this blog about other celebrities who have been treated differently after falling from grace. In my view there is a difference between a juvenile prank that attracted so much publicity because it occurred in the aftermath of earlier revelations about the BBC being less than squeaky clean, and thus reflected the mood of the moment, and an ongoing and very painful family matter that involves other people including children and should not be in the public eye at all. What is similar however is the BBCs response which was too late and inappropriate, apparently led by fear of reprisal rather than getting it right in the first place. Having decided not to broadcast, it is difficult to imagine what else Mark Damazar could have said on Tuesday morning that would have been any better received; but the situation should not have occurred. Andy Kershaw is in the middle of his crisis and his lack of judgement is perhaps not surprising, but the BBC should know better.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 76.

    I don't wish to comment on Andy's personal life, few of us are in any position to do so with any degree of authority, but with regards to his professional career behind the microphone, there is a great deal of public support over at http://johnpeel.net

    http://johnpeeldotnet.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/pledge-your-support-for-andy-kershaw/

    Doubtless the stability provided by a regularly scheduled programme will allow all those involved to get on with their lives in private, and the sooner the better.

    World music has a huge and dedicated audience that clearly recognise Andy Kershaw as a trustworthy and reliable source of content.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 77.

    The primary issues raised this week are about the BBC's handling of this episode; I wonder whether the BBC are reflecting on whether just quietly broadcasting the interview would have done as much damage as this week of increasingly vitriolic (and in places ill-informed) discussion?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 78.

    I was surprised to hear that the BBC would be broadcasting Andys family traumas, I suspect it way well have done his relations more harm than good, however, I was very keen to hear his voice on the radio again and am disappointed to find the show has been pulled.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 79.

    I can't believe what you done Mark, how limp wristed of the BBC at the very least if your going to cite reasons for pulling a show like this at the last minute the participants deserve proper explanation, unless of course there isn't any. Sure if the show had been cleared by the lawyers then there's nothing wrong with it? Come on BBC give Andy a break!!! He's given plenty to you in the past isn't it time to give something back.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 80.

    For balance, and I know how the BBC loves balance, this is Andy Kershaw's version of events

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/kershaw-how-the-bbc-left-me-on-the-ropes-1677104.html

 

Page 4 of 5

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
The Farming Today beehive

Monday 27 April 2009, 16:42

Next
Twin Sisters, Two Faiths

Tuesday 28 April 2009, 13:00

About this Blog

Behind the scenes at Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra from producers, presenters and programme makers.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

Follow Radio 4

Follow BBC Radio 4 & BBC Radio 4 Extra on Twitter for programme highlights and interesting retweets. 

Woman's Hour Power List 2014

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.
See the latest on our blog
Find out about this year's panel and theme
Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014 Woman's Hour Power List judges, 2014

 

Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.

 

See the latest on our blog

 

Find out about this year's panel and theme