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After the

Eddie Mair | 10:22 UK time, Wednesday, 28 February 2007

programme we normally all go to a meeting in the "glass box". I'm not sure it's made of glass but it is see through, and it has chairs in it. it's the same room guests for Broadcasting House hang out in and read the papers, and it's where we hold our 11.00 and 14.30 editorial gatherings.

Last night I had to dash off. I'm making a documentary for Radio 4 and we were recording a couple of interviews nearby shortly after 18.00. I might bore you with the details of the programme nearer the time.

Anyhoo, because of those interviews I was unable to attend the programme "debrief" where we talk in some detail about the programme that's just finished. The meeting normally takes about 15 minutes and is an important part of what we do. Having worked all day on the programme, it's important not to simply walk away once it's done. We talk about what worked, what didn't. Everyone is pretty frank. Except Pretty Frank. Everyone just likes looking at him.

So I wasn't there last night. How do YOU think the programme went? Remember the rules are: don't be cruel, but be honest.


  1. At 10:36 AM on 28 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh, dear, Eddie - I've been caught out (along with some other froggers). While you were on air last night, we were getting a guided tour of Chez Jonnie's (honest, guv - you couldn't make it up really, could you?) So, perhaps I can comment on that instead (and I'll 'Listen Again' later on to feeback on the prog).

    The Cransley tour was lovely. Firstly, Jonnie showed us his box of tricks(!), then he took us round the various reception rooms, visiting Rupert and Harry en route (dog and cat respectively). All this with commentary (which was why we couldn't listen to you, Eddie).

    We went upstairs and saw some of the fine bedrooms and their facilities, and we met Simon, who was busy decorating. I'm not convinced he wanted to meet us, but he was gracious enough to say hi and to wave his roller.

    Then - and perhaps the highlight of the tour - we visited the dollshouse. This is a wonder, one of the seven wonders of Bournemouth no doubt. There are electric lights, real mini people and dogs, handpainted pictures ..... the list of its many wondrous features is too long to publish here.

    So, Eddie, if you're ever bored while broadcasting (or at any other time) just ask Jonnie for 'the Tour'. You'll be thoroughly entertained!

  2. At 10:40 AM on 28 Feb 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Oh Jings....I forgot to take notes! No-one told us there was going to be a test. Eddie, the programme was as enlightening and entertaining as usual. I promise to pay better attention in future. Tonight, I'll be sitting in the front row.

  3. At 10:49 AM on 28 Feb 2007, Sara wrote:

    Sorry Eddie - can't help. We were at Jonnie's in Bournemouth (very nice).

    By the time I get an opportunity to listen again tonight's prog will be over.

    I just can't keep up with it all.

  4. At 10:55 AM on 28 Feb 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Tuesday was much less frantic than monday and we didn't need the mop on tuesday. But there again I was at work both nights..

  5. At 11:10 AM on 28 Feb 2007, stewart M wrote:

    Only caught the last 20 mins but there was something in that 20 mins I enjoyed. I'm sorry to say that since then I've slept and cant actually place what the item was :-)

    Mind you I enjoyed the comedy session at the end of Today this A.M.

  6. At 11:11 AM on 28 Feb 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Personally I thought it was pretty well balanced.

    A mix of 'hard' news and other items.

    Decent-to-Good journalism.

    No problem at all.

    In more general terms;
    I get the impression that things have changed a lot since you became sole presenter, although I didn't really listen to it much before about two years ago. My work life used to interfere with my listening before 18:00 daily. I also have the idea that the change is not completed yet. New ideas like this blog and WoyW add different dimensions to the show, making it what used to be called a multimedia experience. That's fine, as long as the core of that experience, the show itself, doesn't suffer. I'd say that so far you are managing the balance very well.

    You have, within this last week, had a number of Froggers comment on this blog about one particular programme (can't recall which day it was), which received a number of comments as being one of your best yet. If I'd had a mind to do so I would have added my appreciation to theirs. Indeed I should have done so.

    There have also been justifiable criticisms levelled on occasion too. I think one was around the time of the Ipswich murders, but again don't recall the specifics.

    You, Eddie, obviously have a strong personal following on the Blog, most notably amongst some of the Ladies present. And the Blog itself is superb, one of the finest of it's kind. Your gentle jibe at Robert Peston last night about his was beautifully done. Having said that I read his, Nick Robinson's and Evanomics also, although I don't comment upon them.

    Theirs are done very much in the style of newspaper articles, whereas yours forgoes the journalistic angle (for which you have a regular outlet at 17:00 daily) for a more 'traditional' Blog angle. It has built a real community amongst the regulars, where the fun aspects of the Beach and the more serious threads combine to stimulate a lively debate amongst people who are very diverse in outlook. The truly great thing about it is that no-one crosses the line into insults. We agree to differ in our discourses, whilst maintaining proper respect for the views of others. Long may it prosper.

    I venture no criticism here, but offer one suggestion. Given the success of the correspondents threads recently about China and France can we have more of this kind of thing please? Although you are very much 'the bloke in charge' these items from your reporters and correspondents were very well received by commentators on the Blog. And it was a bonus to have 'Hugh the Hack' and Yvonne responding to Froggers comments directly.

    That's all.


  7. At 11:36 AM on 28 Feb 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    I'm sure it was great but I didn't get to listen as was descended on by various unexpected relatives!

  8. At 11:45 AM on 28 Feb 2007, Jane wrote:

    I was just surprised that no one challenged the stupidity of the new mobile phone law:

    Let's recap: Mobile phone use provides 2 distractions
    a) the conversation
    b) handling the phone
    Since it's ok to use a hands-free kit, we assume it's ok to have a conversation.

    Now let's look back at the law:

    a) It's ok to have a conversation and handle open fire (smoking)
    b) It's ok to have a conversation and handle hot liquids that can burn you if spilt (coffee, tea)
    c) It's ok to have a conversation and handle sticky materials that will ruin your suit (eating fats food, filled wit ketchup, mayonaise etc)

    ... but it costs me £ 60.00 and 3 points to have a conversation while handling an inert, light box that is rarely warmer than room temperature and cannot cause any damage when thrown on the floor in case traffic gets hectic...

    Why doesn't that occur to your reporters who didn't challege, but were just regurgitating what the friendly policeman told them. Not exactly what I would expect of a PM reporter.

    Shame really - on most other topics your reporting is a lot better...

  9. At 12:01 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Valery P wrote:

    Oh dear, are you noticing a kind of theme here today - lots of us didn't actually didn't listen to the programme last night. I was in the car, but TD flatly refuses to listen to R4 in the car, on the grounds that it is the background wallpaper to the kitchen at home, and she won't have it while she's in the car and can't escape!

    Do you think I'm bullied? I really couldn't take another argument last night, so Scott Mills it was, I'm sorry (sorry I couldn't switch him off actually - if you have any sway over his programme contents, I could give you a few suggestions. Although I did laugh at the product manufacturer who is offering them a box of cold sore stickers to give away. Doesn't sound funny, but you had to be there).

  10. At 12:05 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Alas and Alac, I was on the Eurostar coming back from Lille at the time, so I didn't get a chance to listen to the prog yet. I may try tonight, after I get back from work, but I'll probably end up confused having heard yesterdays' news after todays!

  11. At 12:16 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Carl wrote:

    Eddie... Don't worry about debriefings... we love you just as you are... mistakes and all. Whens Carolyn next on? She loves Deep Purple you know....
    PS Show was great... sorry 'programme' was great.. always is though..
    Unbiased of Ipswich

  12. At 12:17 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Eddie: I promise I will listen again. I will do this now. Then I will comment. But .....

    Before that, I simply have to reply to Jane (above).

    Jane: Your attitude is completely irresponsible, although I would agree with you on one point, namely, that the law has a fundamental flaw. However, the flaw is this: Use of mobiles, whether handheld or handsfree, should be absolutely banned when a person is driving.

    There is evidence after evidence that use of mobile phones while driving leads to distraction from the task of safe driving. I can point you to a huge body of research on the topic of distraction, but you can g*ggle for yourself.

    When you are in charge of a car (i.e. driving), you may as well be holding a loaded gun. Because, one false move and you can kill others. You can, incidentally, also kill yourself.

    The analogies you draw simply do not hold water. It is, as it happens, also illegal to perform any action which could lead to a charge of dangerous driving, or driving without due care, including eating and smoking.

    I'm sorry to be so blunt, Jane, but attitudes like yours are deeply worrying and until they are challenged, there will continue to be needless accidents, injuries, and deaths on the road which could be avoided if all drivers drove responsibly.

  13. At 12:34 PM on 28 Feb 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Jane - I agree with you in that the law seems to have picked on one aspect ie using a hand-held mobile, but I believe you are wrong about your points a,b and c.

    I'm pretty sure that doing anything else whilst driving that may distract you can lead to a fine, and that a woman was in fact recently prosecuted for eating and driving.

    I think I heard somewhere that it is actually the conversation which is the most distracting bit of using a mobile and personally I would completely ban it but I expect that would be too unpopular!

    I saw someone driving yesterday whilst smoking and drinking a cup of coffee. I did wonder how he was steering

  14. At 12:36 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Eddie, I for one DID listen to the programme as I was travelling back home. I just can't remember much about the articles specifically, which is not a slight against your programme in the least, but I have a terrible recall memory.

    I do remember thinking that the first interview was excellent and I enjoyed the depth that you went into and the amount of time alloted to the discussion was merited without seeming drawn out.
    I also remember thinking at the end that it was a good solid show with a good mix of serious and light-hearted articles.

    Overall for the show: I second the plea that more 'specials' such as Hugh's Chinese Jaunt would be welcome and I never fail to enjoy Eddie's interviews/panel moderations with anyone
    as he always asks the questions that I, myself, ask.
    In way of fair criticism, I would also say that some of the 'Investigative Journalism' articles that appear on the show from time to time tend to be weak - full of one-sided agenda-ridden anecdotes and speculation, without bringing across anything in way of evidence (I am thinking of that dreadful mosque-teaching-gang-killing thing from a few months ago).

    I am also concerned at the appearance of more and more segments which serve as thinly-disguised 'advertisements' for BBC programmes, such as whatever is on Panorama that week - it is bought across as being real and immediate news, when in fact, it is mostly a non-issue which just helps to stoke the fire for the particular TV show.

    Does all that seem non-cruel and honest?

  15. At 12:46 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Right that's IT! NO-ONE heard the programme! ;o)

    Does that mean it didn't exist? Like the tree falling in the forest?

    We may not go on the air tonight at all. Or we might stop at some point. Just to test you...

  16. At 12:54 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Stephen, Leader of STROP wrote:

    One issue I had was over the reporting of the case conference over the 14stone child.

    The report stated: the conference decided that the the child should not go into care. As I understood previous discussions, going into care was not even a proposal at this stage, so the correct explanation should have been the conference did not decide that the the child should go into care.

    I know the difference is sublte, but it is important. From the first, one has to infer that the child going into care was discussed; my version does not imply that.

  17. At 12:55 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Oh fine Eddie, you mean I'm no-one? That's cruel, so I am boycotting your programme and listening to Chris Evans instead. Bye bye Frog and good evening, Mr. Mair.

  18. At 01:00 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Well I was trying to listen for the last 3/4 of the show. I try to make PM my cooking time, so I have an excuse to be in the kitchen with the radio on. Unfortunately the rest of the family were there, wittering, arguing with what was being said, or each other, & generally getting in the way of my listening experience. Short of banning them from the kitchen, I don't know how to improve matters.

    I do remember enjoying what I could hear of the programme, but like most of the others here, I'd be hard put to actually name the items you featured. No reflection on the show, just me. If I can't remember what I went upstairs for, you've not much hope of getting me to review something I sort -of heard 20 hours ago. Sorry! (Liked your subtly competetive comment about the blog though.)
    PS, Just as a matter of interest, can you remember what was on the programme yesterday?

  19. At 01:01 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Belinda! Calm down dear! Did you miss the ;o)

  20. At 01:10 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Further to my message above, I actually haven't a clue where to find Chris Evans on the radio, so I shall move to Classic FM, thereby removing BBC from my life apart from only tuning into Radio 4 for the Shipping Forecast. Eddie, it's all your fault. Let the healing begin.

  21. At 01:10 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    'Calm down, Belinda, it's only a commercial' ;o)

  22. At 01:13 PM on 28 Feb 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    I'm a bit like Annasee - I get home about 20 past and for the nest 40 mins its PM in the kitchen. Good point about the China/France series; very informative, thought provoking and entertaining (great to see pics too).

    I enjoy the mix of stories and the approach to them; I rarely have a 'Today' moment where I feel compelled to turn off due to frustration/anger at the presenters or some badly conceived journalistic piece.

    Even if the blog didn't exist I would keep listening - frogging serves to round out a very good listening experience (!)

    Now I'm off to the Beach via the Brow...how often do you get to type things like that!

  23. At 01:13 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Ah yes Eddie, but the ;o) is silent.

    There is also an enormous ;o) at the end of my messages. I could never boycott PM...well...unless John Humphrys or that loud-mouthed guy from Radio 1 takes over as host after Eddie is made Chairman of course.

  24. At 01:28 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Perky wrote:

    Oh Eddie, I'm so sorry. I didn't hear the programme at all as I was busy fixing my computer - so that I can catch up with the blog! Please don't take it personally; I'm sure those that did tune in were listening extra-hard.

    I do agree with Belinda (14) though - I get a little frustrated with items that seem to be on the running order because of their links to other BBC programmes rather than because of their own intrinsic value. Do you have a quota to meet? Panorama's already a little bit too tabloid-like for me to want to watch it and you can't possibly be short of news stories, can you?

    I promise to give you my undivided attention tonight....

  25. At 01:33 PM on 28 Feb 2007, The Reverend Green wrote:

    Eddie, the question remains, how do we give constructive criticism without appearing to be phony or couching the constructive criticism to a point where the person does not take it seriously?

    Constructive criticism has to be genuine. A person giving this criticism has to genuinely feel it is important to give it. Don't they?

    The person receiving the criticism must have some level of understanding of your role, and understand that you truly want them to improve.

    Do not use statements like, “I want you to…”, “You must understand…”, “You must see the difference…”, “I need you to…”. You are immediately setting the stage for the individual to become defensive, especially if there is already a bad history of communication.

    Take a team approach. In other words, sentences like, “Let us look at the following…”, “Let us look at how you are dribbling or passing the ball, or how we can improve your broadcasting ability or your journalistic technique so you can improve and be a better broadcaster.

    ” At the job setting, “Let’s brainstorm together”, “Let’s put our heads together and think of how we can achieve an increase in listeners, so not only will the network improve, but you will improve your radio techniques too.” By doing this, you have created a collegiate type atmosphere. Do you follow?

    Both individuals are on the same level. Now you can set the stage to critique, not criticize, and then begin to construct a foundation for much needed improvement.

    In closing, constructive criticism takes time and practice. For example if we want our children or our employees to accept constructive criticism immediately, that will not happen. Constructive criticism presented in a positive way, as well as open communication, takes practice. Yesterday's PM was ok but there was a longer gap before the bongs. You must have been in a rush right?

    Constructive criticism must be used effectively if the receiver is to improve. :-)

  26. At 01:38 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Actually Rev (25) constructive IS good. At the risk of going all BBC on you, we do use it to try to improve the programme. Having said that , the bongs are a law unto themselves. I also hate the long gap. But as I've noted here before, the first chime can start as early as 17.59.32 or as late as 17.59.43. I crashed 'em twice last week!

  27. At 01:51 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    You asked, so here it is:

    Report for E. Mair, Form 5PM

    Subject: Tuesday’s programme

    1. News – Read in 5 minutes. Clear and concise as ever.
    2. Eddie’s opens with clearly expressed pointers on Asylum issues.
    3. Interview with Jeremy Brown, Lib Dem: Some humour on both sides, introducing the idea of ‘Oscars’. Not sure of the appropriacy, but it was Mr. Brown who drew on the analogy. Inadequacies more down to the interviewee who came across as somewhat drab. A bit boring, perhaps needed to be nudged along more. Perhaps overlong – Don’t ask him back, Eddie!
    4. Murder update: A well structured piece, put into context with the extracts from the husband’s original interview. Well done, Demethra and Eddie!
    5. MacDonalds and Mr. Wales: Eddie’s image of the children picking up the healthy food and the Wales’ reactions, a nice touch. Relating to the 14st 8 year old’s story, a good link up. Shame the quarterly news headlines intervened. Linking the two stories was a good idea, imho. This, incidentally, is something Eddie does rather well in his programmes and it gives additional breadth and interest to news stories. Dr. Stoat(?) was interesting, well led by Eddie. Yes, nice one, this. And the timing with the announcement of the meeting’s outcome: Perfect!
    6. Prison trouble: ok
    7. Darfur war crimes/Hilary Benn interview: I did like the way you both complimented yet challenged him about the effect of his approach to the issues. It was an interesting piece.
    8. File on Four trailer – A bit boring, but in the right place.
    9. Half hour headline: The same as (1) but different
    10. Private equity investors: Good to hear people challenging this concept. But that’s an opinion based on my own beliefs, so perhaps not relevant. The man from Alchemy didn’t quite convince me (but I’m a cynic). We all know about the tax breaks ….. I don’t think Eddie was too convinced, either.
    11. Private investigators/counterfeit goods: I like this kind of undercover stuff. It was interesting, and it’s good to let them get on with it without comment like that, Eddie. Thanks.
    12. Stock Exchange: What could have been boring was made clear and quite interesting. I’d like to hear Robert’s private tips. And his cheeky plug! And, Eddie, a great ad lib from you. Of course your’s is the best!
    13. Weather: Ah dear, the contributor a bit flummoxed, not used to interviews. Shame, but you handled him well. Gardening books going out of date? Well, a good point, I suppose. The RHS man was v. interesting to folk like me who garden. Yes, Eddie, there are differences in temperature between the seasons …. I think you were struggling a bit there ….. but the general point was understood and the RHS man coped well. Oh, and you read Geoff Hamilton? That did interest me – he’s my gardening hero (missed as much as Nick C, or even more perhaps). And, Eddie, were you thinking of writing the new book? By the way, I saw a butterfly flying past the house last week.
    14. Dame Helen Mirren/Essex CC: I think you have a thing for her, Eddie. Essex girl. Helen Mirren day – the success of Essex ….. Hm, this definitely the filler item, but your points were lovely, I like the ‘freedom of Essex’. D’you think she’d run with it?
    15. Weather: More of the same. Well delivered. Wish there was less rain, thunder and wind. But he did the best he could with the material he had(!)
    16. Woman’s Hour Man (trailer): I can’t blame you, Eddie, for this, but I wanted to turn him off.
    17. Final roundup: As professional as ever. And a good evening to you too, Mr. Mair (as I always reply) No bongs crashed – A+ there.

    So, overall, fine – but no mention of the dementia story. Was there any reason why?

  28. At 01:54 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    If you think the bongs are a law unto themselves, you should try the Archers' theme, Eddie - It broke in halfway through the programme the other night!

  29. At 02:00 PM on 28 Feb 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Eddie (26)

    I love the will-he-won't-he quality of the bongs! But I freely admit thats out of your control; its just makes me smile (so easy to please!)

  30. At 02:00 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Eddie (26) you may sometimes crash the bongs but at least they don't come two minutes early and obliterate the voices as happened in the Archers last night. In the end we had the signature tune twice!

    What on earth was going on?

  31. At 02:12 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    It went on for the correct amount of time.

  32. At 02:20 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Anne p, I thought that was wonderful (on 'The Archers').

    But crashing the bongs is so much more spontaneous, so... so LIVE!

  33. At 02:49 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I must humbly take 50% of the blame for 4 of the froggers being unable to listen at the proper time yesterday. Jonnie had been going to try his experimental tour of the Cransley at 6, after PM, but in the end couldn't resist it just before 5!

    I was the only one aboard for that tour, but stayed and greedily partook of the second one as well. I could hear Eddie's dulcet tones in the room but the dolls-house and worrying about poorly Rupert the Dog were too distracting.

    However I have now Listened Again. Here is my Big Chunker's impression of how the programme went:

    Generally the mix of stories was pleasing and entertaining. However, I could have done without two of them:

    1. Gardening/global warming. It was covered for those interested in the subject by Gardeners' Question Time last weekend. Consensus was: there is no need to rewrite the books. End of.

    2. Helen Mirren and the Freedom of Essex. Purr-leeeeze, that is NOT NEWS!!!!

    Looking forward to tonight's show now. Live this time!

    Fifi ;o)

  34. At 03:18 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Humph wrote:

    Re the Archers thing last night; I thought that was very funny. I often wondered whether soap-opera characters actually listen to/watch the soap-operas themselves. It makes sense that people living in a rural community would want to keep up to date with "an everyday story of country folk". So last night we heard some of them tuning in during the programme! Does anyone know if they kept it in for the lunchtime repeat?


  35. At 03:38 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Valery P wrote:

    I promise to listen tonight - honest Guv.

    Big Sis - :o)

    Jonnie - I'd like a tour, but do I need to get the flash player problem fixed? Does it require the chat function? I'd LOVE to see the dolls' house.

  36. At 03:54 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Belinda wrote:

    I actually liked the Gardening article, but more for the way it was handled rather than the content, which was distinctly 'polytunnel planning permission' in nature.

    As for Eddie's bongs - I think you need to regulate Big Ben strictly. He's been throwing his weight around for too long.

  37. At 04:03 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Just wondering - should I take notes from the programme tonight? Is there going to be an exam again tomorrow?

  38. At 04:06 PM on 28 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Perhaps a nice warm orchestral jingle then instead of the bongs ? ;o)

    I think -- haven't checked, that the 'Playout system' probably started the beginning of the Archers on another channel on the mixing desk. I suspect somebody probably put their mobile phone down on the start button.

    I can't think what Sara and BigSister were on about at the start of this thread! Think they must have been watching something that was pre-recorded as I was listening to PM ;-)

  39. At 04:13 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Amanda Lewis wrote:

    As the output editor of yesterday's PM I'm delighted with all the comments in our froggers' debrief session. Thanks very much for taking the time - especially Big Sister (27).

    Its interesting that the sort of things we agonise over - which story should have been the lead item, whether we were able to get a guest in 'studio quality' or only on the telephone - don't seem to concern the froggers.

    The highlights from yesterday's glass box debrief meeting were: my boss saying I'd led with the wrong story, a discussion about how we should use our Westminster studios and whether it was appropriate to name the 8 year old boy with the weight problem.

    For what its worth - my favourite item was the interview with Lord Hanningfield calling for a special Helen Mirren Bank Holiday in Essex.

  40. At 04:15 PM on 28 Feb 2007, pc wrote:

    Eddie, the final piece on Helen Mirren was simply wonderful and rounded off an otherwise interminable afternoon writing a charity newsletter. I thought for a moment it was April the 1st but then realised Lord Whatsisname from Essex CC was actually being serious!

    The Freedom of Essex? I have a strange feeling that there will be more than a few people who will have suggestions as to could be done with that honour; it could even have the makings of another PM event alongside Window on Your World.

    Laugh? I nearly wrote another newsletter. More please!

  41. At 04:20 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Karen wrote:

    Why did we have something about a crash in China and no comment from Hugh?

    Does he know anything about it?
    Was it anything to do with him?
    Seems a bit coincidental....

    Completely agree with the comment about Panorama now. I used to work in the NHS and have been on the end of aggressive patients myself. Jeremy Vine's whiney patronising tones trigger exactly the same feelings in me.

    Eddie, when you're chairman can we have a proper Panorama again?


  42. At 04:32 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Jonnie, you little pants-on-fire, you!

    Eddie, it's not true. Jonnie started it and we were just too easily led...

    I do wish you could all have seen the bemusement on hardworking SO's face, being invited to set down his painting roller and wave to a laptop computer called 'Fifi' ...

    Must really love you, Jonnie! ;oD


  43. At 04:46 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Otto's Mummy wrote:

    I'm glad someone mentioned the bongs.... i love testing the quality of my hearing by seeing whether I can hear any background noise. Sad I know.

    I thought your piece of Helen Mirren was a load of trousers, actually I got more cross than was really necessary. Apart from that, I enjoyed the programme.

  44. At 05:28 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I think we might be able to sum up the froggers' debrief thus:

    1. Most news stories are acceptable, provided they are given the full PM treatment, and not too serious for too long;

    2. Other than the lead story being the most important, the remaining running order matters little. Adjust for variety rather than ranking in order;

    3. Opinions will always differ. As long as YOU can justify YOUR editorial choices, all anyone can do is agree or disagree. Nobody's right or wrong. Even bosses.


  45. At 06:14 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Welcome to the frog, Amanda! Drop by again.

  46. At 06:43 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Jacques wrote:

    On tonight's programme you said that the new New Labour website was called '20/20 Vision'.

    This cannot be used by Chancellor Brown, as (if I remember correctly) he lost one eye in a sporting accident when he was a child.

  47. At 07:36 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Tonight's show (oh Eddie, what have you started?):

    Alan Milburn: A slightly odd interview this, with Milburn saying the same thing over and over again, while frustration led Eddie to start Humphrysing a little. The points came across clear enough, but it felt rather overlong and it was clear that Milburn would not answer Eddie's (mostly pertinent, sometimes laboured) questions satisfactorily. However all interviews with politicians go in circles like this, and it is hard to nail them on something that they have said. At least you didn't seem to fall out this time.
    I will say this though: Party politics only holds a high level of interest for those who are directly involved ...and the BBC. Trying not to generalise here, but the public are mostly only interested when something actually happens, not when something may possibly happen in the future, maybe.
    20/20 Vision is the worst name for a web-site that I have ever heard by the way.

    Indian Onions: I was afraid that this would be a patronising piece, but aside from a couple of quips, it came around to something interesting and serious, although I have no idea what the future holds for India and Onions in this scenario - some exploration of solutions would have been nice.

    Eurovision: I found this mildly interesting only because I listen to Eurovision each year (sorry) but the piece itself didn't really go anywhere interesting.

    Peru: Nice little interview this made out of a nothing story. Maybe we should synchronise Big Ben?

    Tanny Grey-Thompson: Another nice interview here and it was interesting to listen to. Eddie asked some good questions.

    Contaminated Petrol and the Airbus segments were both good as well.

  48. At 09:14 PM on 28 Feb 2007, HelenSparkles wrote:

    I was drinking wine with Daljit Nagra ... pause for effect ... & now I have a literary crush!

    Simon, I do like us being ladies with a capital L! Rev, I don't like brainstorming again, it has a strange neurological effect on me, no more!

    & Eddie you are always brilliant, but never my crush, there are other Ladies for that apparently.

  49. At 09:34 PM on 28 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    RE: Amanda Lewis (39)

    Hi Amanda,

    The programme is always excellent when you are the output editor.

    Do you think Bradley Viner assisted your skills and training all those years back at LBC ;-)

    ;-) (means a wink and a smile)

    Amanda is a lovely, I used to 'hand over' to her at 5 am. If you get my drift?

  50. At 10:14 PM on 28 Feb 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: My earlier posting as regards to Amanda, Bradley Viner was the LBC Vet and Amanda produced the phone-in.

    Re: Fifi, Big Sis, and sara, glad you enjoyed the tour. Sorry if I told a white lie earlier. I listened to PM today -- some of it with Fifi.

    Re: Belinda, I like your summing up of todays PM. If you go on like that you can save us listening.

    Valery P --

    Camstreams say that you do need flash, they have a comprehensive support page here,


    and as they are a UK based outfit it's easy to understand, when you have got it sorted we can re-do the tour.

  51. At 10:42 PM on 28 Feb 2007, Valery P wrote:

    Thanks Jonnie - I'll contact you when I get it sorted. I downloaded it again, and as usual it said it was installed, but it isn't! I think we have to disable N*rton and download then re-instal again etc - not something which I would attempt without a safety net.

  52. At 11:01 PM on 28 Feb 2007, admin annie wrote:

    I do find Amanda's post about the debrief interesting in particular her boss saying she had led with the wrong story. This from the organisation which defended on a recent Feedback their leading the news with the coming into force of the extension of the charge zone in London which had been decided upon ages before and was therefore hardly news at all. Larf! I nearly cried. How blinkered some people can be, even after listening to all the cogent arguments from people from all over the shop the little twerp who was up there STILL thought that that was the most important news of the day. In the end I just felt sorry for him.There is obviously a huge gap between what concerns those who make news programs and those who listen to them!
    Thought the interview with the garden man was bad, because he had the most broing voice in the world and obviosuly only wnated to tlak in whole sentences saying not bery much. And at the end of the day it was a bit of a useless filler.

    Loved the interview today with Alan Milburn but would echo the sentiment that only politicians and journos are really that interested in politics. Most of us I think would rather hear about real things that have actually happened - only not if the real thing has been a throw away remark by a batty adulterous royal.

  53. At 11:17 PM on 28 Feb 2007, annasee wrote:

    I heard much more of the programme tonight, thanks to the others being (mostly) off the premises. I thought you sounded the nearest I've ever heard you, Eddie, to tetchy, with Alan Milburn. I imagine it's a frustrating task attempting to get a politician to actually give a genuine answer to your questions. They always want to repeat their prepared angle, ad infinitum. I think I'd be banging my head against the wall after a few minutes of it.

    I liked all the interviews tonight, but have remembered the Essex one last night which seemed to go on forever. I was shouting at the radio "I don't believe it. Get him off!" (Just my opinion. Take no notice, Amanda. Carry on...)

  54. At 01:39 AM on 01 Mar 2007, jonnie wrote:

    I think - from now on , along with the 'Beach' and the 'Furrowed brow' we should have the 'de-brief' thread! perhaps we should just call it 'glassbox'

    Eddie et al, could simply open up the blog and all would be there on a plate.

    Not such a bad idea really?

    As an experiment, tomorrow I will create a new page on the extra site called 'glassbox' or we can change it to whatever.

    If it sits better on the BBC site as another thread all well and good.

    AND! It's March so we were told we will be able to have all these new features :-)

    Off to bed

  55. At 06:04 AM on 01 Mar 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Re: Belinda, I like your summing up of todays PM. If you go on like that you can save us listening.

    Jonnie, if the early part of this thread is to be believed, I wasn't aware anyone did listen to the show.

  56. At 08:57 AM on 01 Mar 2007, Molly wrote:


    Idid! Idid! Idid! ;o)


    (what was it again......?)

  57. At 12:07 PM on 01 Mar 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I need to disagree with the people who don't think that politics counts as news. I find this bizarre. Every part of our everyday lives is affected by political decisions taken on our behalf. Sport, on the other hand... as I understand it there is a whole BBC radio channel devoted to sport (Radio 5, is it?). Why do we hve to have it on 4 too?

    Sorry folks, feeling a bit ranty today.

  58. At 12:25 PM on 01 Mar 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    btw, I thought the interview with Alan Milburn came across very well -- for both of you. You asked the tough questions, he actually answered them -- in the way one would expect of course ("No, it's not about Gordon" etc.) and you didn't fall out. And, anyway, I happen to know that it's Paxman he can't bear.

    A tad unfair of you to quiz him on the lyrics of the George Benson song though -- It may've been called "20/20 Vision" but it was actually about hindsight, and so not really the same thing... ;-)

    Aperitif, 80s Pop Princess...

  59. At 01:14 PM on 01 Mar 2007, Belinda wrote:

    I need to disagree with the people who don't think that politics counts as news

    I didn't say that. I said party politics are not always automatically news. Just because a politician has scratched his bottom does not make it newsworthy. If something fundamentally important happens i.e. something that will definitely and imminently alter the lives of the public, then that is news and should be reported. Two floundering and untrusted politicians who have set up a web-site in a possible attempt to forge a potential leadership battle in the Labour party, really isn't a top of the pile story.

    I will ask this though, and this is something that even my husband cannot answer without talking in circles:

    - If the elected party changes leader/PM mid-stream (Blair to Brown), then there is no general election. Presumably because it is considered that the electorate votes for the representatives of a party and not the specific individual running as PM.
    However if an MP switches party mid-stream, as we have seen a few times, then there is no by-election either, and someone who ran as a Labour candidate and was elected as such, is suddenly representing his constituency as a Tory. So, apparently, in this case, the electorate does not vote for the party, but for the individual.

    During an election (by or general), do you vote for the individual or the party? If your MP changed party, would you want a new election? And likewise, if the PM is 'retiring', should there be an automatic general election?

  60. At 03:38 PM on 01 Mar 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Now that you've explained it, Jonnie, I think the Glass Box is a great idea.

    A sort of Focus Group for PM!

    I'd vote for it being on the frog though, so anyone can find it easily.

    Great use of BBC resources, I'd say.


  61. At 04:56 PM on 01 Mar 2007, Dave Reed wrote:

    Great programme last night Eddie! Fell asleep half way through and missed most of it.

  62. At 06:24 PM on 01 Mar 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Um, Belinda (59), I wasn't actually responding to you, and I was being fairly lighthearted but, OK, I can answer your question: You vote for the individual -- for your local MP. If the MP who happens to be leader of the party in office (and thus PM) leaves parliament altogther there will be a by-election in his/her constituency. If (s)he simply stands down as leader but continues as an MP there is no vacancy and thus no election needed. Party members vote for their party leader.

    I was pleased to hear the interview with Alan Milburn and the quetions about his motivation in starting this project. It may not be as important a story as many, but I have also heard many more niche topics covered on radio (incluidng the example that I gave -- sport) and, if not PM -- a news magazine programme -- where else might I hear such an interview?

  63. At 09:29 AM on 02 Mar 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Oh oops Appy (62): I bodged on two levels.

    1) I didn;t realise that you were joking. Sorry. I need a ;o) after a sentence apparently, and even that doesn't work sometimes as Eddie knows.

    2) I meant to be far clearer - I know that officially we vote for the individual MP, but I meant to say, what do YOU personally vote for? MP or party? as in, when you yourself stand at the booth and look down the candidates, do you vote according to individual or by party? I tend to go by party, hence my questions.

    Sorry, the beginnings of flu, have addled my brain significantly.

  64. At 10:48 AM on 02 Mar 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Appy & Belinda,

    I wish folk didn't vote for parties rather than individuals. My thinking on the corruption of the party system is outlined here, and I have had little reason to change it although written some years ago.

    Peace and love

  65. At 11:00 AM on 02 Mar 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    That was quick! 12 minutes (or less), and it's already up! (64)

  66. At 11:08 AM on 02 Mar 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Now come on Dave. If you fell asleep halfway through the programme, you only missed half of it, surely. Not "most of it! " Unless you also weren't listening to the first part. And if so, that's very dangerous, as you know Eddie likes to set a quickfire exam at any time about the previous night's programme. At this rate you will fail it! Better get revising quickly via "Listen again", or there'll be trouble on't blog.

  67. At 12:00 PM on 02 Mar 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Hi Belinda,

    Well I was kind of joking about the sport but when I came back to it I got a bit more serious! Several people had run with the theme that you'd started and I was just making a broad response back. It is difficult to tell how serious people are sometimes innit?

    Anyway, to the question you really wanted answering: Personally I vote for the person (both for parliament and council), certainly for the last few years anyway. And, as it happens, I am always very well acquainted with the person I vote for having helped with his/her campaign. If I didn't know them I would vote by party, because the fact that someone is a member of a particular party and believes in its values tells me something about them anyway. I realise other people do it differently but that's my way.

    Ed, I've read your page at that link before, but I had another look. Whilst I acknowledge the danger and possibility of the consequences you outline, I don't believe that they are a certainty, and I feel there are positive aspects to party politics too -- you do touch on the "working together for a common cause" aspect. How would an individual who has no wealth or power be heard without the support of a formal party, even a relatively small one? How would the working classes ever have had a voice without the stirrings of the Labour Representation Committee? I think it's better to be vigilant against the problems you describe and utilise the positive aspects of joint enterprise, rather than throw it out altogether because of potential difficulties.

  68. At 12:45 PM on 02 Mar 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Appy and Ed - A few moons ago, I used to vote for the individual as my husband worked for a mid-rank MP for many years; we knew him and his cronies very well, and my life would not have been worth living had I voted otherwise. In time I became disillusioned with the individual but not the party as a whole (at that stage) so I still voted for the individual (as a rep for the party) at that juncture, but now, I cannot reconcile voting for someone whose party represents policies which I abhor.

    It doesn't matter to me how good the candidate may be on paper and when giving empty promises during an election, but if he has chosen to be a member of a political party which desperately wants to, say, kill puppies on a stake, then I couldn't vote for him.

    The only time I make an exception to this is when an Independent candidate is running; in which case, I review their policies thoroughly, go to their stump-speeches and compare them against what the main parties are offering.

  69. At 02:06 PM on 02 Mar 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Thanks for doing me the courtesy of reading the wee rant.

    "How would an individual who has no wealth or power be heard without the support of a formal party, even a relatively small one? "

    I also think there should be an enforceable and low ceiling on the costs of getting elected. The present system is little short of an auction with the deepest pockets most likely to win and the chief beneficiaries large corporations (who often contribute to all major parties) and the advertising 'industry' which laughs all the way to the bank, just like the bookies.

    Local government (and parliament) used to be the preserve of the wealthy and leisured classes, and it is good that representatives now enjoy adequate remuneration and literally anyone can afford to do the job. If it were a matter of personal conviction and persuasive power and strong local loyalty and NOT of massive spending and party dogmas, I think we would approach the democratic ideal more closely. perhaps we should examine Switzerland and how others manage it.

    There is another wee rant (which you may have seen) here,
    about the very non-local nature of 'local' government in Scotland. The second page is from official figures and says it all.

    Peace and love
    502 again!

  70. At 02:07 PM on 02 Mar 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Glassbox is a top idea. Keeping this short due to rampaging 502s. Must mention that I thought the Indian Onions piece was very good; shows how 'big' things effect 'little' people. Especially interesting about the amount of exported crops. Thats it....if this gets blocked I'm off for more bean bag action on the beach. And a mojito.

  71. At 02:17 PM on 02 Mar 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Thanks for doing me the courtesy of reading the wee rant.

    "How would an individual who has no wealth or power be heard without the support of a formal party, even a relatively small one? "

    I also think there should be an enforceable and low ceiling on the costs of getting elected. The present system is little short of an auction with the deepest pockets most likely to win and the chief beneficiaries large corporations (who often contribute to all major parties) and the advertising 'industry' which laughs all the way to the bank, just like the bookies.

    Local government (and parliament) used to be the preserve of the wealthy and leisured classes, and it is good that representatives now enjoy adequate remuneration and literally anyone can afford to do the job. If it were a matter of personal conviction and persuasive power and strong local loyalty and NOT of massive spending and party dogmas, I think we would approach the democratic ideal more closely. perhaps we should examine Switzerland and how others manage it.

    There is another wee rant (which you may have seen) here,
    about the very non-local nature of 'local' government in Scotland. The second page is from official figures and says it all.

    Peace and love
    502 again!
    and again!
    and again!

  72. At 02:30 PM on 02 Mar 2007, Belinda wrote:

    So what's this documentary about Eddie? Polytunnel planning permissions?

  73. At 08:50 PM on 04 Mar 2007, whisht wrote:

    hold on a minute - I'm confused.

    There's a show connected with this blog?

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