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Saying goodbye to The Interview

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Rajan Datar | 16:35 UK time, Friday, 18 March 2011

Another week and more farewells to old favourites.

Is the loss of The Interview programme going to leave an irreplaceable gap in the World Service schedules? Many of you think so - in this week's show, we talk to the producer of the programme.

It is striking from your emails how much respect you have for The Interview and its presenters Owen Bennett-Jones (pictured) and Carrie Gracie.


Robin Russ was one of a number of listeners who contacted us writing from Japan to explain why he values the programme so highly.

"Where else can I go to find the truth, where is another source that puts both sides on the air and leaves it to the listener to decide which one to weigh in on? Where else is truly World news covered?"

And he added: "Aside from information, I'm going to miss appreciating the skills of Owen Bennett Jones. He should be a required course in journalistic studies throughout the world."

And in addition to the emails we have received, listeners have also sent their comments to the programme itself, so when I met The Interview's producer Annette McKenzie she was very grateful for the kind comments that have been made about her programme. I asked her to recall some highlights from the programme, and she picked out two interviews for two very different reasons.

The first one by Owen Bennett-Jones who recalled the first time he met the Rev. Ian Paisley and the second was by Carrie Gracie who was given some impromptu fashion advice from designer Vivienne Westwood.

Also in this week's programme we look at the latest changes to science programmes on the World Service. Steve Titherington, the senior commissioning editor Global News, explains the thinking behind the changes to the schedule, and how they are intended to give science a more prominent place.

Keep your emails and phone calls coming.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 00:40, 03:40 and 12:40 every Sunday (GMT).


  • Comment number 1.

    So, despite the vocal protests from many listeners the demise of a number of programmes is still going ahead. All, we are told, in the name of cost cutting but what we have not been told is how much money will be saved by axing The Interview, World of Music, Politics UK and more.

    As for science programmes Steve Titherington didn't tell us much that was new. All science programmes will be broadcast at the same time. Great, but that has been the case for some time. Digital Planet will have a name change to Click. Okay, we can live that wait. Judgement will have to wait to see if there is change in content and style. What was not said was if the length will be same. Science in Action is, I believe, being reduced to 20 minutes. Is this the same with other science programmes? And this is part of "giving science a more prominent place"?

    On cuts no change in the plans for the switch-off of 648. Plenty of protest from European listeners and offers and suggestions from people for individual funding as with NPR but again we have been told nothing about the cost of keeping 648 going. Well I have now found out the annual cost for 648 is around £400,000. From the offers already made covering this from donations could well be possible. So the BBC's statues means they can not accept donations but surely there are ways to do it, for instance via the BBC Trust?

  • Comment number 2.

    Can someone explain to me why it is OK for US and England to invade a sovereign nation, bomb it's people into oblivion upon the ground that the illegal regime is allegedly using excessive force against civilian rebels who may be Taliban affiliated; why videos of Muslim men and women calling for more air strikes on the sovereign are played over and over again; but when Israel conducts air strikes against an illegal regime in the Gaza who routinely bomb Israeli civilian locations and who is indiscriminately killing Israeli citizens waiting at a bus stop, the defensive action is uniformly condemned by the very same nations and Muslims who are roundly supporting the Libyan air strikes? Double standard?

  • Comment number 3.

    You were my #1 podcast. I found this such an interesting program and would listen to the podcasts several times so I would learn as much as I could, in addition to the first time I heard it on the worldservice. Goog luck Owen and Carrie, we miss you in maryland, usa


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