BBC BLOGS - The Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

Car crash radio?

Peter Rippon | 14:32 UK time, Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Oh dear, a moment on Broadcasting House this weekend has upset a lot of listeners. It featured an exchange between the former Labour insider Derek Draper and the Liberal Democrat acting leader, Vince Cable, in what is supposed to be a review of the Sunday papers. They were discussing this. (Click here to listen to it). Among the comments:

Broadcasting House logo"I wouldn't welcome Derek Draper's boorish behaviour in my home, so please don't invite him into my home on my behalf. Debate fine, abuse no."

"There is one guest taking over the discussion and voicing his biased political opinions. There should be a briefing of guests prior to the programmes informing them of protocol and the BBC's constitution."

All the responses we got were critical of Mr Draper and some blamed us for allowing it to happen. It reminded me of when Joan Rivers met Darcus Howe on Midweek (which you can listen to here).

I agree the BBC should not be deliberately manufacturing confrontations. We did not in this case. We should also not allow bullying and intimidation. I do not think we did that either. Vince Cable is very capable of defending himself. However, I would resist the urge to avoid confrontation altogether. There should be a place for strongly held views vigorously expressed. People get angry because they care about things. Whilst it may have backfired in Mr Draper's case this time, radio should show how deeply views are held. Good programmes should not always be gentle and friendly. They need to be challenging and uncomfortable at times as well.


  • 1.
  • At 03:39 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

One is reminded of the alleged comment by Piers Morgan to Kate Garraway...

'Derek bl**dy Draper, If I'd known the bar was set so low, I'd have had a go myself.'

Trust me to have chosen last Sunday for an extra long snooze.

  • 2.
  • At 03:46 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

On a tangential note, perhaps I owe a bit of an apology to Libby Purves, who I have always thought of as being the dullest Radio 4 presenter there is - but having listened again to the fisticuffs between Darcus and Joan that is rather harsh.

I am also rather surprised that some of the listeners only want to listen to people on the radio who they would allow into their home. Hmm... I'm not sure that I would invite Dr 'Death' / Jack Kevorkian into my home, but he gave Fergal Keane an absolutely fascinating interview this morning.

On balance, though, I think Paddy would be well advised not to have people yelling at each other, if for no other reason than it makes it rather difficult to savour the full flavour of their vituperation if they are talking over each other.

To be fair, I think the first of the clips was live, and live radio can be unpredictable. The BBC isn't to blame if guests who are supposed to review the Sunday papers decide to have a slanging match with each other. The Labour man seemed to be at fault here. In both clips, the presenters appeared to struggle to gain control of the situations. I remember on the late phone-in on Five Live during the Big Brother race row, when a guest started repeating some of the fowl language and had to be stopped by a presenter. She stopped when told, but I do wonder what would happen if abusive behaviour or fowl language by a guest continued in a studio from where a live programme was being broadcast? Would the presenter just spend all the time trying to gain control of the situation? Would somebody remove the uncivilised guests from the studio? What would happen? It's not like when somebody behaves like that down the phone and you can just cut them off.

  • 4.
  • At 07:30 PM on 04 Dec 2007,
  • John K wrote:

I listened to this but did not complain as I thought it just showed up how strident and immature Draper is. He made himself look foolish - though I suppose in his case that's not too difficult...

More generally, not a good idea to have two people married to each other doing the newspaper review?

  • 5.
  • At 06:58 AM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Clifford wrote:

All this could have been avoided if the guests actually 'reviewed' the papers. They don't. They just find a story and sound off about it. They review the news. Why isn't this made clear to listeners at the outset?

  • 6.
  • At 02:50 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Alice F wrote:

I am all in favour of strongly held views, robustly expressed, but we get enough party political punch and judy the rest of the week. Please avoid using people like Derek Draper and Vince Cable and others who have their own political axe to grind. And,yes, Clifford is quite right, guests are there to review the papers not give a party political broadcast.

  • 7.
  • At 03:14 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Mr Loon wrote:

I thought the review hilarious, showing DD once more to be the fool most people know he is. Listening to the podcast on Monday morning during my commute to work made me laugh out loud.
Any chance of Canoe Man and his wife to do the review this Sunday?

  • 8.
  • At 03:17 PM on 06 Dec 2007,
  • Owen wrote:

I was delighted to hear Derek Draper. It was a reminder just how obvious it was even in 1997 that a bunch of wideboys had captured control of the Labour Party. Did I really hear his current occupation described as "psychotherapist"? Either I was hallucinating or BH is finally developing a decent sense of humour.

Still it would be nice to have the content of the papers mentioned

  • 9.
  • At 09:59 AM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Dafydd Ladd wrote:

Overall, the paper reviews have been getting worse. I don't know if it is difficult to get 'famous' people to do it and if so, how about 'normal' members of the public? We can be just as stupid as the famous.

This post is closed to new comments.


Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.