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Well, as the sun sets slowly

Eddie Mair | 15:04 UK time, Monday, 22 January 2007

behind the clouds...I can exclusively reveal that the newsletter was sent before noon, and has clearly been diverted. Too late, of course, as it's time to put the bucket under the cow.

But as a consolation - here's the newsletter what I wrote (copyright E. Wise)


In the programme tonight - should everyone at Channel 4 be hanged? And then - should the hanging be filmed? We'll debate whether the corpses of executives should be used as puppets in a sick new version of the Muppets. And then whether the corpses should be hanged again.

Also: goodies galore on a Devon beach. The police ombudsman for Northern Ireland is holding a news conference right now - we'll have more on that. We've reports from India and New Orleans, and possibly something about tax.

See you on the ice at 5,

Eric Duncan"


  1. At 03:19 PM on 22 Jan 2007, Gillian wrote:

    I think the Beeb is putting everyone out to hang today. We've had an item about poor customer service on ''You and Yours'', we've had Eddie's thread about poor service, and at the moment on R4 we've got gripes about insurance-providers. (You may be interested to know that ''Act of God'' is a legal term, but is not used by the Insurance companies!)
    The B.B.C.......The People's Champion!

  2. At 04:11 PM on 22 Jan 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Actually, I think you ought to be bl**dy well hung Mr Mair. (The old ones are the best...)

  3. At 04:12 PM on 22 Jan 2007, Helen Sparkles wrote:

    I was surprised at the statement C4 released during the furore, it was incredibly naïve, & they do seem to have kept very quiet throughout a very public debate. Instead it appears CBB rolled on, was edited in a way which focused on the events in question, & it took some time for anyone to address the behaviour which was definitively racist even if unwittingly.

    Having not watched CBB in its entirety, I am not qualified to comment on the footage, but I did watch the highlights which showed that the episodes were dealt with pretty responsibly. The comments were made, addressed with the participants, who examined their behaviour and apologised to the injured party. I am almost sure that the housemates wanted to save their careers rather than their souls, but hopefully either motivation would make them reconsider some of their previous attitudes and the language they use.

    In an age of such marvellous communication methods, I am surprised that the programme makers weren’t in touch with the C4 board at the time, but I don't think anyone should be hanged at C4. The head boy could be hung out to dry, but the decisions made on CBB were a joint responsibility, and that is almost too easy.

    Ultimately I think CBB did us a favour, lots of people think the way that the housemates have, but say they are not racist. It is great that CBB has given such behaviour a high profile, as well as the way it has been made very clear that it is unacceptable, even if it happened through an unsurprising ignorance. It is great to see papers like The Sun & The Daily Mail come out in response to this incident, & I hope it will ensure that their own editorial work is examined, should it ever verge on bigotry!

  4. At 04:26 PM on 22 Jan 2007, Richard the Inept wrote:

    That's a bit bleak. Besides, who would you get to play Kermit?

  5. At 04:41 PM on 22 Jan 2007, Belinda wrote:


    This is already one of my favourite stories of the year.

  6. At 04:45 PM on 22 Jan 2007, Ray Sykell wrote:

    re: Miss Fielding and Mr. Wise.

    "Plagiarise. plagiarise!
    Let not another's thoughts evade your eyes."
    Tom Lehrer.

    "How true; even today."
    Seamus Android.

    Nice to see that excellent principle in use.

  7. At 06:01 PM on 22 Jan 2007, reluctant licence payer wrote:

    I find the media, and this includes the BBC) exclaimation of horror, at the behaviour depicted on Channel 4 leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. No one in the media has any right to be surprised at anything that is said or done on television, you are all quilty of the same crimes.
    All televison is equally responsible for the decline in standards across all channels.
    It is now almost impossible to watch any drama, comedy or 'reality' proramme, including I believe cooking programmes, where it is normal to have obscene language in abundance, often together with gratuitous sex and or violence. This deteriation in the qualirty of programmes is mirrored in a deterioration in language, behaviour and manners generally found in society now.
    I know you do not agree, but television has been one of the main contributer to this lack of 'respect', Tony Blair please note.
    Roll on digital television, so that I can watch my selected videos in peace an do not have to bother about television, which means no licence fee, Hurrah

  8. At 06:20 PM on 22 Jan 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Ray Skyell (4),

    Afriad that's not the official version:

    Let no one else's work evade your eyes,
    Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
    So don't shade your eyes,
    But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize...
    Only be sure always to call it please, "research".

    (How I like the get-out at the end!)

  9. At 08:29 PM on 22 Jan 2007, madmary wrote:

    Which cookery programmes feature obusive language and gratuitous sex and violence. Not that I want to watch but if someone could just tell me which channel and the times and days. ;)


  10. At 09:11 PM on 22 Jan 2007, Hugo wrote:

    Worrying that Channel 4 Board ethics are completely absent ("regret any public upset" but no idea what they did wrong) - is this true of all Media bosses (eg BBC refusal to move to Salford, missing all the best shops?)

  11. At 11:27 PM on 22 Jan 2007, admin annie wrote:

    madmary, Anything with Gordon Ramsay in it certainly features bad language although I have yet to notice any sex and the only violence is done to the ingredients.

  12. At 01:59 AM on 23 Jan 2007, Ray Sykell wrote:

    DeepT (8)

    You obviously didn't have to listen to "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" with my aunt and uncle.
    And (for comic effect) you dismissed my (attempted) pun name.

  13. At 10:00 AM on 23 Jan 2007, Fifi wrote:

    The Big Brother format, like any mildly addictive phenomenon, required added doses of controversy each time the format was repeated.

    This is because, of itself, it wasn't that interesting to watch a room full of irritating nobodies irritating each other.

    Whoever hit on the idea of a Celebrity version was clever ... but inevitably the appeal of this too faded.

    On the one hand, A-list or even B-list celebs wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. And on the other, the novelty of seeing famous people not performing was bound to wear off sooner or later.

    In that context, it seems obvious (with hindsight) that the producers would have to set up some sort of unusually unpleasant conflict to generate any interest at all this time.

    It worked spectacularly well. Too well, in fact. And in their arrogance the producers just let it run.

    The individuals responsible should be named, shamed, held to account and C4's franchise seriously questioned. The amount of airtime the channel currently devotes to so-called 'reality TV' is depressing, and surely must contravene its public service obligations.


  14. At 10:22 AM on 23 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Belinda: Love your Craggy Island find! How do I get tickets?

  15. At 10:42 AM on 23 Jan 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Why, Big Sister, here of course: http://www.friendsofted.org/

    Go on, go on, go on, go on...

  16. At 11:32 AM on 23 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Belinda: Thanks. I will, I will, I will, I will ...

  17. At 12:07 PM on 23 Jan 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Ugh, who sullied this thread with the mention of Gordon Ramsay???


  18. At 02:17 PM on 23 Jan 2007, HelenSparkles wrote:

    Interesting article in The Grauniad today; the author is a philosopher who set out to find out how racist Britain is. He has really come to the conclusion as I have, when working with young offenders, convicted of racially aggravated behaviour. Sitting in my white middle-class liberal bubble, I find the word 'paki' offensive & it is taboo, but others have no idea there is a taboo to be broken. Sometimes the young person was being abusive, but is bemused to find his adjective was racist, and therefore worse than any other but it is a lesson learnt.

    What I find alarming sometimes is when someone refers to them, as in a group defined by ethnicity, followed by they all .... I think that is often racist, but I found myself using it myself as shorthand recently for the African students on my social work MA, who did seem to share characteristics. It wasn't a complimentary conversation, they were expecting me to do all the work for a study group project, & then give it to them! But perhaps they were working more hours than I had to, had children to go home & look after, & a there were a lot of foreign students who were paying a fortune for the not so great privilege of that particular course!

    There did seem to be a general attitude which appeared to be culturally specific, but I don't think all Africans are lazy for example, I just found certain behaviours irritating. I suppose it was about different attitudes to various things, and I was never accused of racism, but others were & and it wasn't limited to the students. I didn't actually see any evidence of it, except in the odd one or two people who would own up to it (it is quite worrying the people who want to be social workers sometimes!). If mine hadn't been a critical remark, perhaps I wouldn't be wondering, but was I was being racist or just generalising?

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