« Previous | Main | Next »

The Glass Box for Wednesday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:37 UK time, Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Glass Box is the place where you can comment on what you heard on PM, interact with other listeners and get responses from the people who make the programme.

Just click on the "comment" link.

The Glass Box is named after the booth outside the PM studio where we all discuss the programme at 18.00 every weeknight. We try to be honest and constructive. Sometimes there is criticism, and the criticised get a chance to explain themselves.

The people who make PM will read the comments posted, and will sometimes respond. Unless it's Roger Sawyer editing. He's completely hopeless. Peter and Jeremy are in charge tonight. Please feel free to post your thoughts. There is a link to previous Glass Boxes on the right.

Also on the right, you'll find lots of other links you might like. The Furrowed Brow for example is the venue where you can start talking about anything serious of your choice: The Beach is a fun place, and there are links to Blog entries with photos, audio and links. And if you want to see us drone on about awards, you can do that too.


  1. At 05:12 PM on 30 May 2007, Andrew wrote:

    Why can the BBC not report the Paul Wolfowitz story correctly. He did not resign because he got his girlfriend a job with World Bank (as reported in a previous bulletin) or for arranging her promotion in the WB. It was because he arranged a transfer to a highly paid job in the US State Dept. You may not think this matters, but it undermines the credibility of your reporting.

  2. At 05:43 PM on 30 May 2007, admin annie wrote:

    I am really really really cross. We've been moaning about trails on PM for other programes , both radio and TV , like what seems for ever on the frog, to no effect obviously. I find I can just about put up with it when it is for another current affairs program, AQ.AA, MM, Panorama or whatever. But why oh why oh - insert as many y-os as you like here - did we have a trail a few minutes ago about someone who is trying to improve clothes shops. What link, however tenuous, can there be with a news magazine type program like PM. Has the BBC done some research and discovered that the PM audience like to spend their afternoons in clothes retailers and has a huge desire to learn about what goes into making them successful? No? I thought not.


    Sorry for shouting. But like I said, I'm cross.

  3. At 06:03 PM on 30 May 2007, Martine wrote:

    Only half heard a clip on pm today 30th May 2007, regarding refuse collection and a gentleman named Chris Wyatt(!?) who is organising some alternative service. His website was mentioned but I did not catch the name of it, nor the start of the clip on the subject. Please let me know where I could find some more information about the content of you clip. Thank you very much in advance for responding if you can.

    Best regards,


  4. At 06:05 PM on 30 May 2007, J wrote:

    Just listened to your piece on Animal Testing. An informative report that will no doubt draw a strong response from the Animal Libbers.

    People take for granted the surgical techinques, such as transplantation, or life-saving drugs such as the Clot-busting drugs which have all been deveolped using animal research.

    I have too many members of my family and close friends who owe their life to this type of research, a view echoed by one of your contributors.

    As to the "non-animal" systems when a complex system with all the physiological responses of an animal is available then I'll be happy to use it, but it isn't there yet.

  5. At 06:21 PM on 30 May 2007, VT Thinblot wrote:

    Well said, J.

  6. At 06:27 PM on 30 May 2007, VT Thinblot wrote:

    Well said, J.

  7. At 07:05 PM on 30 May 2007, RJD wrote:

    A big YES to what Admin Annie (2) has said. Why trail programmes within programmes especially when there is no apparent link? I'd much prefer that there were no trails at all in PM.

    I'm sure there must be some research that tells the BBC that this cross-media, cross-channel and cross-programme trailing adds to audience, otherwise they would take note of how intensely annoying it is and put a stop to it.

    I’ve no problems with bringing peoples attention to other broadcasts and output that might interest them, but do it between programmes. Tell you what, stop PM at 17:58 and do the trails then, before the News.

  8. At 07:27 PM on 30 May 2007, D. Reems wrote:

    Utopia will not be built by Utopians.
    It is up to you ladies and gentlemen.

  9. At 07:30 PM on 30 May 2007, david cordingley wrote:

    Well done on tackling Harriet Harman today. It's incredible; New Labour 'in Power'!? for ten years and Harriet a socialist, yet no idea how to narrow the gap between rich and poor apart from 'talking to people'. UKpopdems -Popular Democrats is planning to govern for the benefit of the people instead of politicians, their cronies, backers and party dogma. You can't govern for the people unless you're prepared to listen. When you do that it's easy. I mean, the people have been shouting loud enough for long enough, and all it takes is an interested ear.
    We have a well-developed four point plan to directly help the poorest and most disadvanteged to become better off, both financially and socially. This involves a 'RIGHT TO WORK' initiative; a VERY HIGH EARNERS DISCRETIONARY CONTRIBUTION; 'SAFE PENSIONS' to boost dignty in retirement; and a transfer of hundreds of thousands of back-line public sector jobs to work in the community to boost life chances through better health, education, social services and reduced crime.
    Listen to and trust the people, Harriet, and the answers will be obvious.

  10. At 07:32 PM on 30 May 2007, D. Reems wrote:

    Utopia will not be built by Utopians.
    It is up to you ladies and gentlemen.

  11. At 07:42 PM on 30 May 2007, Karen wrote:


    The thing that amuses me is that when I dispense eye ointment to a patient they invariably tell me that it's the same as the stuff that the vet gave them for their cat/dog/rabbit. Occasionally it is touched on in a programme (Monkey Business - using Banana flavoured Amoxil syrup in monkeys!) but doesn't really have the same impact.

    The lethality and teratogenicity tests have to be conducted in animals to comply with the Medicines Act. People often forget that animals also benefit from the research since some drugs which are not very effective in humans prove useful for treating animals.

    Whilst I was at University I was aware that there was a research group working on arthritis in cats. Their arthritis mechanism is similar to ours. They were trying non-steroidal anti inflammatory gels to see if it would help cats. I was working on replacing early animal studies using potatoes to model skin cancer and brine shrimp to model leukaemia.

    At some point, though, the medicine does need to be tested in a whole "animal" of some description. The fact that we don't have regular incidents like the TGN1412 trial study subjects may be attributable to the pre-clinical work done in cell lines and animals.

    I'm grateful that animals and humans have taken part in the trials that resulted in the vaccines I've had, the asthma medications I forget to take and the antibiotics I've taken as a result. My pharmacy is full of items that are only on the shelf because of the dedication of scientists and trial patients and the sacrifice of some animals and I am grateful to all of them.

  12. At 07:48 PM on 30 May 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Admin Annie (2):

    Absolutely. NO trails please unless they're directly related to an item on the show.

    We're not idiots, we know how to read the Radio Times, thanks.

    (Other listings magazines are available, but are largely useless for finding out what's on the radio.)

  13. At 08:32 PM on 30 May 2007, anth wrote:

    Admin annie #2,

    I have heard a theory about trailers on Radio 4. Maybe I read it on the Blog, but no way to find where if at all, but I certainly understood and agreed with it.

    Whenever Feedback or whatever discuss them, the powers that be think "Ah, they are not getting the message, we must increase the number and frequency of them". And lo and behold, more trailers appear. It may be below the belt, but a 16:30 trail for PM has not been around for long - I don't remember when it started, but it was not that long ago.

    But if you find trailers annoying, I find even more annoying when the content of trail is repeated *again* at the start of the advertised programme; and then one last time, in context, finally, you hear the same bit *again*. This is particularly true for science programmes.

  14. At 09:08 PM on 30 May 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Admin Annie (2) I shall have to ''Listen Again'' to hear that trailer....having spent all afternoon clothes shopping with TD, I like the idea of improved clothes shops. You never know, I might learn something useful! ;o)

  15. At 10:58 PM on 30 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Noticed this post from Nikki on the Froggers refuge from Tuesday.

    Made me hoot!

    nikki @ Tue, 29 May 2007 20:15:12 BST:

    hmmm. It appears Eddies gone too far this time. No posts on the blogs since he requested we all jam the phones at 18:00 Has 'someone upstairs' noticed?!!

  16. At 11:39 PM on 30 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Loved Helena Wilkins report on community matrons - congrats to Helena on 'great use of audio- - actuality etc....

    Re Admin annie - and most of us !

    These trails are appalling - the one for the BBC2 fashion shops was before the half hour headlines - dreadfully made and not suitable for Radio 4.

    Then before the six o'clock news we were treated to another (preview, Eddie calls them?) A Jeremy Bowen programme called 'Six days that changed the middle east'. Is it on Radio, Telly? err -- we weren't told anyway! which makes the whole thing even more 'Pointless' ! I've already caught some of it on the World service - so presume it's a Rdio 4 transmission?

    I doubt Peter Rippon was given a choice in the matter - must be a Mark Damazer idea. Probably caught on to the idea of cross- promotion, with little idea of how to implement it properly.

    I see *very* few trailers for Radio 4 on BBC television and noted that News 24 don't even credit BBC Radio when they take out large chunks of the today programme!

  17. At 12:04 AM on 31 May 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I would have been mesmerised by tonight's programme if I'd heard it. I'll try to make up for it tomorrow.

  18. At 12:21 AM on 31 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Anth and SSC

    I agree with you both 100%

    I've grown to accept the programme trails - ie: Joan Bakewell, and they do work better now that Eddie tends to intro them with a 'Now here's a word from Joan' or similar. Though having said that they are beginning to get tiresome for the regular listeners. (In my opinion)

    Anth - you said

    "But if you find trailers annoying, I find even more annoying when the content of trail is repeated *again* at the start of the advertised programme; and then one last time, in context, finally, you hear the same bit *again*. This is particularly true for science programmes.


    You have hit the nail on the head! Isn't it annoying?

    Anyway Gillian - I expect a full report on the fashion shops programme on BBC2 (after the *preview*)

    How watching it changed your life - and you'd have never known about it without Radio 4.

    Finally I noticed on the DAB display yesterday:

    And you can e-mail PM ........... www.pm.bbc.co.uk ........

    Easy mistake I guess - but it's what they do!

  19. At 07:24 AM on 31 May 2007, Sarah Williams wrote:

    I was saddened to hear on PM about the debate by the universities and academia calling for the boycott of Israeli universities due to the situation in the Middle East. Perhaps the conference should have spent their time time debating complex issues such as:-

    Who are the Palestinian people? Up until twenty years ago the conflict was known as the Arab/Israeli conflict. What about the fact that the British Partition gave the Arab communities the whole of Transjordan to live in? What about the Arab families who chose to live under Israeli rule and are quite happy doing so?

    Why punish Israel for keeping their side of deals and turn a blind eye to the fact that the Palestinian side are still committed to the destruction of Israel? What about discussing why roadblocks are in place in some areas and recognizing that despite meeting with criteria such as giving up Hebron and Gaza, Israel are still showered by Kassam rockets on a daily basis?

    Israel has suffered enough with military conflicts and terrorism without British academia taking such attitudes.

  20. At 07:56 AM on 31 May 2007, Eric Ceilio wrote:

    The piece on animal experiments last night was absurdly biased in favour of the featured “scientist”. Near the end the “journalist” even stated his opinion that animal experiments were necessary as if it were fact, rather than a heavily disputed opinion, both on scientific and moral grounds. Opposing views were restricted to one small clip in a piece of several minutes.

    Any real scientist or questioning journalist might have dug a little deeper and questioned exactly what the benefits are of replicating in animals a well understood reaction in humans to a high cholesterol diet. Unquestioning acceptance that animal experiments are necessary might be tempered by reading some peer reviewed literature, for example “Comparison of treatment effects between animal experiments and clinical trials: systematic review” by Pablo Perel et al in the BMJ, published 15 December 2006. Quoting from this paper “Conclusions : Discordance between animal and human studies may be due to bias or to the failure of animal models to mimic clinical disease adequately.” , “The animal studies were of poor quality … with evidence of publication bias.”

    One of the vivisection industry’s golden boys, Tipu Aziz, was caught out recently when his work was criticised by an independent analyst Dr Malcolm Macleod, an expert in systematic reviews. In an email forwarded to the animal rights group Animal Aid by mistake Macleod admitted that Deep Brain Stimulation, Aziz’s area of “expertise” and used endlessly as an example of successful application of animal experimentation, was "area of weakness often trumpeted as a success, but which in reality is probably a failure".

    How interesting that this piece appeared on PM on the very day that sixteen animal rights campaigners were found not guilty of illegally protesting against the new animal lab being built in Oxford following revelations of evidence of collusion between police and the university. In court the judge condemned the police for unlawfully stopping their protest having imposed illegal conditions on a demonstration. (http://www.oxfordmail.net/display.var.1436614.0.police_stoppped_lawful_protest.php) Any good reasons for not covering this story too?

  21. At 08:58 AM on 31 May 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Good mix tonight - but I have to chime in with the trails comments. Maybe for related programmes (radio at least) but the Clothes Shop thing? PM is about current affairs, NOT the bbc!

    Israeli piece was very effective - the cool dispassion of the British academic with the passionate Israeli representative. It may be ponder if the Brit (can't recall his name) had any first hand experience working within the system that he wants to boycott. Does he have any understanding of the internal discussions and dynmaics of functioning there? Or is he criticising the powers that be but choosing to target academia?

  22. At 10:03 AM on 31 May 2007, Peter Rippon PM Editor wrote:


    The trails are not my responsibility BUT I do understand why we have them on PM. The News programmes are peak audience times so an irresistible chance to let people know of other things on the network/BBC. The dilemma is that if you try to weave them seamlessly into the programme it can defeat the object of doing them. They need to stand out.

    Eric (20) thank you for your comments. I do not agree with you and I will ask the reporter to respond more fully. Personally I find the debate on vivisection absurdly polarised. We hear too much from people against testing completely or seemingly in favour without reservation. It is the debate between these two positions I want to explore. Your point about measuring the medical effectiveness of experiments is a good starting point and we have explored this with BUAV before.... after the Northwick Park human tests went so badly wrong.

  23. At 10:06 AM on 31 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Harriet Harman comes into this deputy leadership with, seemingly, no policies. Her theme is 'Vote for me because I'm a woman and Labour needs a woman deputy leader'. That's it!

    The electoral college ought to require more than that as a basis on which to give her their votes. Her only idea is talking to people. She should have been doing that throughout her political life, after all she is there at the behest of her electorate to represent their wishes in Parliament. Is she now saying that she hasn't been listening to them all the way through? Then she hasn't been doing her job and doesn't deserve to be promoted.

    Jeremy Bowen wrote a book called 'Six Days' in which he describes the Six-Day War of 1967 and how its aftershocks have set the agenda for the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts down to the present day. It is the most lucid and readable account I have ever read. If there is now to be a TV or radio version I would like to know when, because I'll be listening.

    No trailers!


  24. At 10:34 AM on 31 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:


    I must admit that I've had Jeremy Bowen's book at home waiting to be read for six months or so. I'll have to give it a go when I fly to the US soon. That'd be a good opportunity to spend hours engrossed in a good book.

    Peter R. I understand the desire for some trails, but they seem to be becoming more and more frequent, bot on Radio and on TV. Some I don't mind at all (like the trail for BH at the end of Friday's PM, always a hoot!) but some just make my skin crawl. A good example is the one WW refers to re the Cloths Shop. I get the feeling that the PTB desperately want this to win the slot it's in, so they're pushing and pushing it. I seem to see a trail every time I have a BBC channel on the TV, and now it's invading radio. Enough already!

  25. At 10:56 AM on 31 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Peter Rippon PM Editor: ....

    ..............The dilemma is that if you try to weave them seamlessly into the programme it can defeat the object of doing them. They need to stand out. ..................

    Well the one for BBC2 certainly achieved the goal of 'standing out'

    As SSC pointed out :-

    We're not idiots, we know how to read the Radio Times, thanks.
    (Other listings magazines are available, but are largely useless for finding out what's on the radio.)

    Lets just keep them to Radio 4 trails please.

  26. At 11:16 AM on 31 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Sarah (19),
    "Why punish Israel for keeping their side of deals..."

    Which deals are those? Israel has abrogated every deal she has ever made. She stands in complete denial of dozens of UN resolutions, and continues to build illegal settlements in land she has been under od=rders to relinquish for forty years.

    She has killed more than seven times as many children as have the Palestinians, and four times as many folk overall. She continues to build an apartheid wall on Palestinian land, takes 80% of the water from the occupied territories for her own use, d3emolishes Palestinian homes and olive orchards, etc., etc.


  27. At 11:42 AM on 31 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Another quick point on Peter's response.

    Peter said :- The News programmes are peak audience times so an irresistible chance to let people know of other things on the network/BBC.

    Surely if it is at peak time - the audience is there to *hear* the news - not to have BBC2 trails chucked at them - us. I could understand it more if the BBC was a commercial outfit.

    Having been on both sides of the fence, I now appreciate that producers, editors, presenters get too caught up in their own programmes and lack the objectivity of the 'listener' - at home.

    I think our points, on this thread, regarding the trails, illustrate this.

  28. At 12:49 PM on 31 May 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    I just want to add my name to those protesting about trailers. They are a nuisance on the radio and a nuisance on the road. It seems there is no way round them. Last night, having missed some parts of the programme, I walked into a room and heard someone talking about piped music and its effect on shoppers. I could not grasp what that had to do with the rest of the programme. Was that a part of the trailer?

  29. At 02:07 PM on 31 May 2007, Eric Ceilio wrote:

    Peter (22), you remark that the vivisection debate is "absurdly polarised".

    As I see it (coming unashamedly from one end of the polarised spectrum) there are large areas of general agreement. For a start, I will make some statements that I believe to be pretty uncontroversial.

    1. Most people would agree that they do not agree with animal testing of cosmetics.

    2. Most people would agree that they do not agree with animal testing of household products.

    3. Results from animal experiments should be registered centrally to avoid duplication (and additional suffering of the animals) and to allow scrutiny of the regulatory system.

    Unfortunately, animal tested ingredients are still widely used in cosmetics sold in the UK, household products are legally tested here, there are no checks that duplication is not taking place and it is not possible to gain enough information adequately to scrutinise the workings of the regulation of experiments.

    Given all of these angles that a genuine investigative journalist could come at the issue from, simplistic journalism that falls for the "I value people over animals" line is very disappointing.

  30. At 02:14 PM on 31 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Ah Vyle - you are *only* a listener.

    It made perfect sense at peak hours for the potential BBC2 viewers.

    Si Worall, I take your point and have no objection to a Jeremy Bowen trail before the Bongs.

  31. At 02:21 PM on 31 May 2007, Eric Ceilio wrote:

    Peter (22), you remark that the vivisection debate is "absurdly polarised".

    As I see it (coming unashamedly from one end of the polarised spectrum) there are large areas of general agreement. For a start, I will make some statements that I believe to be pretty uncontroversial.

    1. Most people would agree that they do not agree with animal testing of cosmetics.

    2. Most people would agree that they do not agree with animal testing of household products.

    3. Results from animal experiments should be registered centrally to avoid duplication (and additional suffering of the animals) and to allow scrutiny of the regulatory system.

    Unfortunately, animal tested ingredients are still widely used in cosmetics sold in the UK, household products are legally tested here, there are no checks that duplication is not taking place and it is not possible to gain enough information adequately to scrutinise the workings of the regulation of experiments.

    Given all of these angles that a genuine investigative journalist could come at the issue from, simplistic journalism that falls for the "I value people over animals" line is very disappointing.

  32. At 02:39 PM on 31 May 2007, David Anderson wrote:

    As the Editor of the department that makes all those wretched trails, though not I must say the BBC2 one which has generated such heat, I thought I'd reply to some of the comments.

    In essence what Peter said about putting trails in PM is right. Our two greatest audience peaks are respectively during the Today programme and PM through to the Six o'clock News. This also has the most diverse audience so is a great opportunity for us to tell people about other things on the network, and in particular make listeners aware that, while news programming is the backbone of Radio 4 it is also about much,much else and we want to encourage you to try it.

    I suspect from some of the comments that there are some Radio 4 addicts to whom the trails may be less useful because you listen a lot and also may check listings regularly. That's fantastic and please carry on, but you are, alas, a minority. Round about two thirds of our audience don't listen that much and are unaware of vast swathes of our programmes. And like everybody else there are increasing distractions to lure people away from listening to R4. So it's them
    we want to capture, while still I hope providing our heavy listeners with information as to what are the network's highlights.

    I'm sure we don't always get the tone or style absolutely right but I know our trails team work long and hard at pitching it right. And how do we know we're getting it right? Well your comments help, but we have also researched this and I am sorry but some of you will be disappointed to discover that there is a clear majority consensus that trails are appropriate and useful.

    But be assured this not something we are complacent about and do review regularly.

  33. At 02:42 PM on 31 May 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Vyle I think it must have been but to be honest any clothes retailer who needs someone else to come in and tell them the different effects different music has on shoppers' moods is surely destined for failure anyway.
    I appreciate what Peter R says about the irresistible temptation to put trails in news programs where there is a peak audience, but it's a bit of 'Feedback' response isn't it? 'we know you don't like them but we're going to give them to you anyway.' Plus what about Jonnie's point - how often do you see a radio 4 trail on bbc television, or indeed to take the point further how often do you see a program trail on TV DURING another program. Do they interrupt Paxman on Newsnight to say what's gong to be on You and Yours the next day. Does Huw whatsisname on the tv news get moved sideways half way through his program so that viewers can be alerted to tomorrow's exciting edition of Woman's Hour? The answer to both questions is no. Maybe a partial solution would be to have trails, as someone sugested further up, between programs and not during them. They would still be d****d irritating, but much easier to avoid.

  34. At 03:07 PM on 31 May 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Actually, I hear these trailers, think "Ooh, that should be interestin," and promptly forget when the programme will be on, so I never listen to programmes as a result of trailers.

    WRT music in shops, my wife usually asks to have it switched off, failing which she leaves the shop. Saves money.

  35. At 03:13 PM on 31 May 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Actually, I hear these trailers, think "Ooh, that should be interesting," and promptly forget when the programme will be on, so I never listen to programmes as a result of trailers.

    WRT music in shops, my wife usually asks to have it switched off, failing which she leaves the shop. Saves money.

  36. At 03:57 PM on 31 May 2007, RJD wrote:

    Admin Annie - In fact they do sometimes trail programmes within the TV News - Panorama being one that they occasionally refer to. I find it really infuriating because it usually isn't done following on from a proper news item as such - simply a plug for another programme.

    I agree that we have had a bit of a "Feedback" response. "The News programmes are peak audience times so an irresistible chance to let people know of other things on the network/BBC" Oh, I think with a bit of effort it could be resisted.

    I just don't understand the logic. Popular programme, big audience - let's put trails for other programmes in it. I can't imagine other popular programmes on Radio or TV being interrupted in this way - or maybe yes:

    Take a minute out of “The Archers" to promote "Match of the Day" - and vice versa.
    Interrupt "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue" to plug "The Westminster Hour" and again vice versa.

    Not likely is it?

  37. At 04:22 PM on 31 May 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    David -
    Thank you for your contribution; but I think AA?Jonnie sum it up nicely re tv/radio trail usage (sorry about the awful english, brain has melted).

  38. At 05:28 PM on 31 May 2007, Karen wrote:

    Eric (31) and Peter (22)

    I disagree that the debate is *that* polarised. I think that the extremes tend to be the most vociferous with many of the population somewhere in the middle.

    Prior to my degree I didn't feel terribly strongly one way or the other. After my degree I became more in favour of good research but very much against poor research.

    I do not agree with the statement that cosmetics should not be tested on animals and human subjects prior to marketing. I do think that there should be a need to consider and justify whether the market really needs your product and whether the cost and sacrifice of animal experiments is necessary. I thought that this was already controlled by the government.

    I'm of a similar opinion with household products where there is a need to understand the effects that they may have on an individual and the best way of treating accidental exposure.

    With the generic drugs I understand that there is an abbreviated procedure which doesn't require the same degree of testing - there is just a need to demonstrate equivalence to the original product.

    Ultimately, though, most clinical testing takes place in humans. A drug may only have been tested in 2000 carefully selected individuals before it reaches the market. It is then available to millions. It was after extensive human testing that they were trying the NSAID gels in cats... Chemotherapy that has been trialled in humans is applied to animal cancers too, often after human testing.

    With regards to the duplication and access to information issues I agree that this is something that some investigative journalist could be following up to clarify the position for all of us.

  39. At 05:34 PM on 31 May 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:


    For Radio 4 programmes, to draw our attention to them, tell us when they are on, yes, terrific, fine.

    (I wish you *would* trail "Cowards", if that is what it's called, to remind me when it is going to be on later in the evening; I keep turning on half-way through, and it's brilliant.)

    For other programmes, television stations, and so on: *NO*.

    I have noticed too that the bit in the trail for any "comedy" programme is all too often the only remotely amusing part of the half-hour, if I happen to be listening when it is on. That's cheating, damnitall, like putting the lovely ripe strawberries at the top of the punnet and filling the rest with mouldy or unripe fruit.

  40. At 05:52 PM on 31 May 2007, Anil Vadgama wrote:

    "We're told by statisticians that the equivalent of a classroom of children every day are being aborted in their mothers' womb"
    Cardinal Keith O'Brien

    I see


    "We're told by statisticians that the equivalent of a classroom of children every day are being abused by the church"

  41. At 06:01 PM on 31 May 2007, anth wrote:

    I've already posted this on Thursday's glass box, but was alerted by EM's comment at the end of PM this evening. It's a new twist on the trails matter:

    This Rob Broomby report from Iran.

    Just how much of this will overlap with the programme tonight at 8pm? How much was this a news item of relivence today, how much of it a news item at all, and how much was it (as we were discussing in yesterday's Glass Box), a trail? As I type this, the item continues, and I'll bet EM makes reference to the "Inside the IAEA" programme at the end of the item.

    Ah, item just ended....and EM did.

  42. At 06:48 PM on 31 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; David Anderson :-

    Thanks for giving us some feedback.

    I think most of us are happy for the odd trail for other programmes coming up on Radio 4. I had no complaints about the Jeremy Bowen trail.

    Speaking for the majority here, I'd be very interested as to why BBC 2 television is being promoted on Radio 4 during the peak hours.

    The BBC2 programme trailed yesterday in PM was for a programme about a woman who has managed to change the shopping habits by playing music. - on at 21:00 tonight (27.5 hours after being trailed?)

    Now had I made, presented produced 'Costing the Earth' - which is on Radio 4 tonight at 21:00 I'd be bloody annoyed?

    As regards reseraching the audience. It normally involves an outside company asking a random selection of people some questions. The feedback from here will be far more valuable - and the majority of us aren't glued to Radio 4 most of the day. We probably all know the regular time slots of programmes though.

    I would *really* like to see any figures which supported people approving of cross media trails - ie: for programmes on television!

  43. At 07:07 PM on 31 May 2007, Mary wrote:

    Like Martine in comment 4 I too missed most of the discussion with Mr Wyatt about alternative recycling. Can't find any info on Radio 4 listen again or google Any help available?

  44. At 07:13 PM on 31 May 2007, Karen wrote:

    I have to say I do listen out for the Friday trail for BH...

    When we froggers condemn other trails to oblivion are we going to save Paddy?

  45. At 08:05 PM on 31 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Eric C;
    There is a flaw in your arguments. I would reckon that the majority of people these days are well aware of the principles of vivisection and testing, if ignorant of the detail. There is probably a wide understanding that cosmetics, medicines and household chemicals are animal tested. And the use of the word vivisection itself is loose, it meaning the dismembering of live animals, which would seem to happen in only a small percentage of these cases.

    So if your arguments (1) & (2) above are correct very few people would buy these cosmetics/products or take these medications because of their principled objections? Market forces would then force the companies behind them to change their testing to other alternatives. So why hasn't this already happened?

    I suggest that the majority are comfortable with what happens, so long as they are not confronted with the gruesome evidence (I used to be a butcher quite a while ago, so I know what the inside of an animal looks like!). Medicines will continue to be taken, cometics worn and houses cleaned with animal-tested products until the groundswell of public opinion turns against the practice.

    The animal rights lobby have being trying to turn public opinion in that direction for decades, so far with a conspicuous lack of success. That lack of change is what fuels the fringes to turn to forms of terroristic behaviour. Can't influence the public to follow you? Then firebomb shareholders of Huntingdon Life Sciences et al. Try to influence the testers and their indirect supporters by direct action instead. N.B. I do not, nor would I, ever accuse you of such behaviour. I merely observe cause and effects on a small percentage of animal rights protesters.

    And frankly I DO value the life of a human above any number of animals. If a child and a puppy both walked out in the road in front of me whilst I was driving my car and I had to make a choice then the puppy goes. Again, one would suspect that the large majority of the public would make the same choice. Brutal, but real.


  46. At 08:27 PM on 31 May 2007, anth wrote:

    Karen #42,

    But that BH trail is a one-off. If we believe Paddy, he's given a hard time by EM (see, or rather hear, a past audio clip). It's usually live (although did Bridge Kendall do one last week - I cannot remember).

    I think that's enough to make it safe from a post-trail Radio 4.

  47. At 08:30 PM on 31 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    (Regarding a J. Bowen trailer) You are, as ever, most gracious. :-)

    David Anderson;
    The idea of trails I have no objection to. The quantity lately, I do. I wouldn't mind if they were pushing other programming on R4, or programmes in the same genre of news/current affairs/reportage.

    But who actually cares about some pissant programme about a nonentity doing shop makeovers in outdated boutiques? Seems to me that having commissioned it there may be a recognition that it is only likely to have a narrow audience. So to try and pump interest in the programme it is being advertised everywhere.

    You could defend some trailing, but not *especially* this one.

    And of course, having heard the trail you've now heard the most interesting part of the programme and the nub of the argument. So no need to listen to the full programme. Wonderful! It means that you've more time to spend with your family, rather than watch that boring old Panorama, or listen to 'You & Yours'. The BBC enhancing your family life.

    Whoops, silly me. No-one listens to 'You & Yours'.


  48. At 10:15 PM on 31 May 2007, nikki noodle wrote:


    First. Thankyou to Peter Rippon and David Anderson for taking the time to read and respond.

    As you can see, there are widely divergent views on the trails aired in PM.

    Can I make a link to a comment made on BBC Radio 4 by a commisioning editor of The Friday Play? She said something to the effect that if we the listeners didnt like the play that was chosen we could always put the telly on.

    I think that this is to misunderstand the Radio 4 audience. As do your trails for BBC 2. I would love to see the evidence of those listeners who choose to hear Radio 4 in expectation of hearing intelligent speech, as on the ident.

    I am sure it is a high proportion.

    The BBC Radio 4 audience, I feel, do not tune in willy nilly, as may well be the case for some TV stations. Radio requires a good listen to, or else the meaning is lost.

    And these trails break up the listening experience in the wrong places , by coming in the middle of a concentrated listen.

    Please ask if we would mind trails at 5:58pm. I am sure we would not mind at all.

    All good wishes


  49. At 10:33 PM on 31 May 2007, anth wrote:


  50. At 10:40 PM on 31 May 2007, anth wrote:

    Karen #44,

    My previous entry in reply has been moderated into extinction. But to point out that the BH trail is live, not a pre-recoreded segment repeated again and again before the broadcast (where it is broadcast another couple of times for good measure).

  51. At 10:59 PM on 31 May 2007, anth wrote:

    PUSH works, I see....

  52. At 11:13 PM on 31 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Well I caught the last ten minutes of the much talked about 'Fashion shop'

    and yes!

    Boy - did it need a trail!

    What a waste of Network air time! Honestly - I'd rather have watched either BB or Jerry Springer - anyday!

    Meanwhile - at ten'oclock - on 'BBC Four' --- a fascinating interview - head to head - with Mark Lawson interviewing Biddy Baxter from Blue Peter. Intriguing -great quetsions - very Radio 4 - basically 'Front Row' with pictures.

    Mark is a Radio 4 presenter. -- however without the help of a Radio 4 intrusive trail - I managed to check the listings and dig it out.

    David Anderson :- I'm not clear if you have any input in scheduling the trails - or creating them.

    If it's scheduling - then I really think you should come clean and either explain why that particular 'BBC2 trail' was there on Wednesday? or point us in the direction of -

    who decides what content is trailed?

    I think we all deserve a reasonable explanation - and a simple 'We got it wrong' would be acceptable for me!

    Peter Rippon *does* accept responsibility when things occassionally go pear shaped! - I think the ball is in your court.

    Re; anth

    - believe it or not I listened to the Rob Broomby report at the Gym. Yes - I will confess that I wasn't cross-training as fast as the lady next to me - however due to the blog and seeing the pics I was interested. Great programme - and worth a 'listen again' if you missed it.

    Eddie Mair - It's your blog - the best blog, unlike the very selective feedback programme, we'd appreciate an answer.



  53. At 11:40 PM on 31 May 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Um, Si, *I* sometimes listen to You & Yours, if I’m in the car when it happens. (Perhaps I had better go and hide in the waterweed for a bit after admitting that to you?)

    And that’s an answer to the individual who said ‘you can always turn on the TV if you don’t like what I’m putting on the radio’, isn’t it. No, dear, I can’t, not if I am in the car I can’t. It wouldn’t be safe now would it. And guess what, if I were blind I probably wouldn’t find the telly as accessible as the radio, either. If a commissioning editor *encourages* people not to listen to what she has commissioned, it’s time she went and got a different job, like perhaps counting the hair on caterpillars by hand or something really worthwhile and productive, and let someone who wasn’t so silly take over from her.

  54. At 11:57 PM on 31 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Jonnie (51);
    I refer you to my earlier supposition at (47) para 3 (But who cares....), without having seen the programme in question.


  55. At 01:33 AM on 01 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Yes Agree Si -

    But I am now *seekig a response* from the person person - dept who decided that programme was the one to be trailed?

    It can't be that much of a problem?

    We are always told it's *OUR* BBC.

    Looking forward to an honest explanation from David Anderson - hopefully without any input from Eric.

  56. At 01:59 AM on 01 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Anticipated reply from David would be:-

    Yes jonnie 'hands up' we did get it wrong this time!

    BBC reply :-

    Our research shows us that 'Fashion programmes and the Radio 4 audience are 'two of a kind'

    I see that BBC Four are repeating Mark Lawsons interview once more! - 01:45 no comment - ! Surely BBC Four could have had the 'Fashion shop' a few hours later? - If it was that worthy to trail?

    Come on guys - face facts - something needs looking at - and a lot of us with Freeview? - or just FM - need a little more credit - It's not Rocket science?

    USE the resources you have !!!

    And as for our own Radio 4 -- yet - another *Simulcast* night of the BBC World service.

    very sad in 2007 really :-( very bad recycling. let alone all the transmitters, aircon units.

    When will Mark Damazer take hold ?

    I do hope this blog holds comments into the future.

  57. At 07:51 AM on 01 Jun 2007, Eric Ceilio wrote:

    Simon (45) claims there are flaws in my argument and that the the majority of people agree with animal testing for cosmetics and household products. His evidence is that people still buy them. Evidence supporting my claims comes from a MORI survey commissioned by the Medical Research Council (Animals in Medicine and Science [pdf format — 176K]) in which 85% are against testing of cosmetics and 77% against the testing of household products.

    The government's (voluntary) "ban" on animal testing of finished cosmetic products in the UK has been spun enough that the public are convinced that cosmetic and product testing have already been banned.

    Just because you value the life of a child over an animal doesn't lead inevitably to your supporting animal tests. If those tests mislead or divert resources from more effective tests then both child and animal may be worse off.

    Peter Rippon in his response to my original post said he wanted to explore the debate between the two polarised positions on this issue. The feature on PM on Wednesday was certainly not an attempt at starting this exploration, being entirely one sided (one heavily edited opposing view doesn't make for a balanced piece). I look forward to a more questioning approach from PM when these issues are covered in future.

  58. At 08:02 AM on 01 Jun 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    I'm with you on this one. It was a lousy programme and didn't merit being made, never mind shown. As for trailing it, why? BBC should be trailing it's best material, that which follows its core brief to educate, inform and entertain, preferably all three together. This did none of the above, it was unwatchable dross.

    David Anderson;
    Why waste programming time, expense and effort trailing something this poor? Who makes these decisions and based on what criteria? Your energies would be better spent pointing viewers and listeners at materials which fit their preferred habits, but which they may be unaware of, rather than promoting items which don't fit the audience profile.

    I understand that you were not involved in trailing this particular programme, so the following paragraph should be read generally, not specifically at your team.

    If anyone is going to watch programmes like this one then you'll find them watching daytime TV, with it's endless supplies of cheap, low-grade makeover shows, antique shows, sell your home shows and sell the rubbish from your attic shows. Mindless fodder for brainless fools. I refer you to this mornings listings on BBC1; Homes under the Hammer; To buy or not to buy; Cash in the Attic; Bargain Hunt. There's the audience for this kind of show. Trail it there instead.

    Dealing directly with your very welcome comments above;
    You comment directly on the huge choice now available to listeners. Those who choose R4, over all the other BBC and commercial channels available to them, do so because the material they find there appeals to them. So use that choice to inform them about other programmes in the same mould, perhaps on other channels, which fit that mould.

    You say "Radio 4 it is also about much else and ... encourage you to try it." And also "Capturing wandering listeners ... and providing our heavy listeners with information as to what are (R4's) highlights". But this trailer and many others that we hear point people AWAY from R4. So rather than reinforce the listening habits you are trying to diversify them away from the station. You can't have it both ways. Either you're trying to highlight the best of R4, or you are trying to market the entire output of BBC through R4. Which is it?

    If there is a "clear majority consensus" where is it to be found? There is little to zero support on this PM Blog for these trailers on PM. So which audience have you sampled? What sample size? What proportions actively welcomed the trails as a very good thing.

    To take an extreme view; Let us say that all BBC1 viewers found trails useful. But all 'PM' listeners don't. If you are genuinely trying to tune your output to the audience, to maximise the effect of what you do, then in this case you would put lots of effort into trailing on BBC1, and drop trails on PM. And so on.


  59. At 10:49 AM on 01 Jun 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Eric C.;
    You misquote me, or misunderstand me. I don't claim that people agree with testing. But that they are largely indifferent to it, so long as they are not confronted with the gruesome evidence of it. There's a world of difference in there.

    Given the constant, if often fairly low-key, flow of news stories about this, whether the Oxford protests, HLS, the Yoxall grave-robbing or whatever, it seems reasonable to assume that a substantial percentage of the populace DO understand that it goes on today. If that's correct then their lack of action indicates indifference at best, tacit complicity at worst.

    There are lies, damned lies and statistics. You quote a figure to support your argument, which I am sure is correct. But how many people oppose the Iraq War, yet sit idle at home and do nothing to voice their protest? Either indifferent, or complicit by abstention from protest. The same can be said to exist in any polarised field of opinion. Those who either agree or disagree but stay mute fall into one category or the other.

    They may indicate their opposition to testing when actively approached and directly asked about it. But why then do they persist in their habits of buying tested products? Why don't 85% of women buy cosmetics and other products from Body Shop, whose ethical policy in this regard is impeccable and widely known?

    The insulin which I used to be compelled to take was an artificial one, not animal-derived. But I could believe that it was, perhaps, animal-tested. I oppose testing, quietly, like so many. But I took that insulin twice daily, whether tested or otherwise. I also have to take three other drugs daily due to diabetes. Possibly some or all of these were animal-tested. Even if I knew for a fact that all of them were I would still continue to take them.

    Before the advent of artificial insulin would you have condemned all diabetics to a very unpleasant slow death, poisoned from within by their own bodies? Where are your ethics on that? Insulin was isolated from animal testing and for decades derived solely from bovine or pig sources. Was this wrong?

    Despite my passive opposition to testing I take them, without trying to seek out their development history. Even if I were informed that they were, indeed, tested I would continue to take them. Hypocrisy? Perhaps, but I value human life higher than that of animals, my own no more or less than any other human life.


  60. At 12:17 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Christopher Landau - PM reporter wrote:

    I was the reporter for the animal testing piece. Eric, it may be helpful for you to read my final links:

    'For the foreseeable future, animal testing will remain an essential component to medical research. What is changing is the willingness of researchers like Professor John Martin to speak openly and candidly about their work - and the moral questions it raises.

    (Then Prof Martin said: "Using animals as tools of medicine I think is just an extension of the culture of using animals in human society. Although I do value animals very much, I value human beings more.")

    Not everyone will agree with him, but even those opposed to animal testing give a cautious welcome to greater transparency from those involved. But as scientists predict the number of animals used for tests is set to grow, also increasing are the demands for more detailed information about the work that goes on in Britain's largely secret animal laboratories.'

    I don't think that achieving 'balance' in a piece is simply a matter of aportioning airtime. We had been given unusual access to a place that members of the public would seldom see, and so we heard from Professor Martin in detail. But the piece also made clear the views of those opposed.

    I am already talking to BUAV about another piece which will hopefully air at the beginning of next month.

  61. At 01:31 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Eric Ceilo wrote:

    Christopher Landau (60) - thanks for refreshing my memory with your exact words that made me cross whilst driving home on Wednesday!

    I maintain that 'For the foreseeable future, animal testing will remain an essential component to medical research' is an opinion given as established fact. I would like to see some peer reviewed research that could back up that statement. If Prof Martin had made the statement the audience would understand that it was the his far from impartial opinion, but it would be acceptable. Surely it is not for a journalist (except (maybe) if explicitly stated "In my opinion after preparing this report and speaking to both sides ...") to give such opinions?

    I also challenge the statement that Prof Martin talked "openly and candidly about (his) work - and the moral questions it raises". He talked about some experiments in rats, but not why he was doing them, how they would help anyone, what suffering was involved, numbers of animals, other species, ... Then he talked to a patient who appeared to accept that research on animals helped him because the Professor told him so. If Prof Martin is open about his research, does he openly publish his applications to the Animal Procedures Committee and make public the cost benefit analysis that all such applications require? Are these available in the public domain so that all interested groups are able to critcise and raise objections?

    I look forward to the next piece, but also mention that BUAV are far from the only show in town when it comes to opposing voices. Animal Aid and their scientific advisor Andre Menache are worth talking to, as are Uncaged campaigns.

  62. At 03:47 PM on 01 Jun 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    Excellent Blog!!

    To quote RJD 'this is what makes the blog worthwhile'

    getting two way comment and feedback, excellent and informed debate, a variety of views, passion and courtesy!!

    Thankyou so much Eddie Mair.


  63. At 04:31 PM on 01 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; nikki -

    However - as anticipated - the trail debate is left open.

    I wonder who the 'ghost' was who scheduled the BBC2 trail.

    Like many things - we will never know.

  64. At 04:34 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Christopher Landau - PM reporter wrote:

    Hello Eric.

    The "foreseeable future" point relates to the fact that - as mentioned in the piece - it is a requirement for new medicines in the EU to be tested on animals, so it is a statement of fact that testing will be required for some time to come. I am not aware of any plans to change this regulation (though obviously BUAV, and others, are pressing for change - again, as mentioned in the piece).

    On Prof Martin being open and candid - the point is, surely, that he is being far more open and candid than many of his peers, but I also mentioned in the payoff that campaigners against animal testing would like to know more about the full extent of animal research and the techniques used. Some openness is surely better than none at all!

    In tonight (Friday's) programme I am reporting from Damien Hirst's latest exhibition - including pickled sharks and cows. I can't seem to get away from animal controversy this week...


  65. At 05:25 PM on 01 Jun 2007, Karen wrote:


    I was being tongue in cheek! I completely agree with the general consensus on trails within PM and Today. The ones during Today are invariably for programmes I cannot listen to because they are being broadcast whilst I'm at work. I'm never that motivated to "listen again" to them in the evening. The 8.30 is usually interactive which is better.

    The fact that Paddy is essentially a live, one-off trail that fits perfectly with the style of the programme probably accounts for its reception.
    Let's save Paddy for the time being!!


    Christopher, thanks for joining in. Eric has raised some interesting points about animal testing. The animal testing requirements (rodent and non-rodent species) was introduced after thalidomide. If aspirin were subject to animal testing now it would be unlikely to obtain a licence. It causes birth defects in rodents. These tests aren't perfect and cost a considerable amount to run.

    I learned alongside pharmacology students and was made aware of some of the requirements to obtain a personal licence for experimentation - it's not something I would ever want to do myself for the reasons Si picked up on - but there is a need to justify the reason for using animals in the testing. One of the other points we were taught was that "Not tested on animals" means that the finished product and the components have not been tested in animals within the last 5 years. I'm not sure how true this still is... If you look at the Body Shop products you will find they are packed full of preservatives and stabilisers which were tested at some point in an animal.

    Ultimately it is a case of asking whether we really need that new mascara or golden tan moisturiser. Where there is a good well-being need for animal testing I'm fine with it - medicines being the classic example. When it is for vanity I am much less comfortable.

  66. At 11:39 AM on 01 Jul 2007, Keith Stewart wrote:

    Congratulations to those medical students, on Friday, who had gained entry to King's College, London, despite inadequate academic achievements for normal entry. Well done, too, to King's for their sense and courage in taking these impressive young people.
    I can assure all concerned that "A" level results are a minor part of the attributes required by a potential medical student. As I prepare to retire from the NHS, I look back on the pre-UCCA admissions to Guy's Hospital Medical School, where I was accepted with what would now be E grade "A" levels. I made a successful career in General Practice for 28 years and moved into Paediatric Audiology when I saw what the four x A graded, young bloods wanted to do to sell General Practice down the pan for a wallet full of money. Dedication to your fellow man and a vocation count far ahead of academic prowess.

This post is closed to new comments.

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.