Archives for September 2007

No plans for Sunday night?

Eddie Mair | 18:47 UK time, Saturday, 29 September 2007


There are some jolly things in this - especially the Archers stuff.

The Glass Box for Friday

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Eddie Mair | 16:48 UK time, Friday, 28 September 2007


Friday, like the Glass Box for Friday, is finally here.

We're discussing Burma on the programme

Eddie Mair | 16:47 UK time, Friday, 28 September 2007


including a live interview with one of the Burmese activists responsible for this blog.

Tonight's Sound of Summer will be...

Eddie Mair | 16:03 UK time, Friday, 28 September 2007




...drum roll...


Sound number 6. Those chickens! Carl also sent us these pictures:


Stand by for that not really surprising Sound of Summer announcement...

Eddie Mair | 15:55 UK time, Friday, 28 September 2007


and in the's a word from our techy people who've been working very hard to sort some of the annoying messages we've all been getting.

"We're looking at the way our server is set up to try to resolve the problem you've described. Basically, what's happening is that when lots of people try to comment all at once, our blog application thinks it's coming under a spam attack and starts blocking comments, even those that are entirely innocent. This has been a problem for some time but the good news is that we have someone on staff who is looking at fixing this and other problems with the application.

We apologise and realise that it's frustrating to take the time and effort to write a comment only for it to be rejected for no good reason. We're hoping to resolve the underlying problem which causes this in the next week or two."

Here at PM we thank them for all their efforts. And we apologise again to you for the keyboard-thumpingly-annoying things that sometimes happen here. Now stand by for the big winner...

Vote for tonight's very last Sound of Summer

Eddie Mair | 08:04 UK time, Friday, 28 September 2007


We got lots of entries that we kinda felt didn't really fit into the summer sound category (whatever that is) or sounds that perhaps didn't quite work.

Among them - those below.

Big Ben is due back on Monday so tonight's Sound of Summer will be the choice of PM listeners.

Just click on the comment link and add the number of your choice, 1-6, before 16.00 BST today. The most popular choice will be the one we play.*

1: From Malcolm Teal: This clip is of my band, Split the Kitty, from our rehearsal on the evening of Tuesday August 28th in Walton-on-Thames. It was our first get-together since our guitarist Duncan got married in July, and the clip is from our version of Dodgy’s “Staying Out for the Summer”.

2:Humph sent this: "I work throughout the summer period and so for me the "sound of summer" is a work sound. The attached file is of one of the instruments that I work with - setting up and starting the analysis of an extract to measure the polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) content of a soil sample."

3:David Reid sent this: "this is the sound of Nottingham Arboretum, 11 September, early evening."

4:David Reid - I think it's the same person but can't be faffed to check - also sent this: "of East Midlands Airport as passengers leave the terminal with their baggage trollies - early September, 21.00"

5: Paul Freeman sent this: "This is the sound of the end of summer really; it's the first rehearsal after the summer break of our Anglo French choir "Vocalise" (pronounced the French way :- "vocal-ease"). We are an amateur choir of some 25 people roughly half-and-half English and French, based in the Limousin. It's 7.15 in the evening, on Tuesday. We would have been outside, in the late summer evening, but it was too cold ! There are 3 clips here, 2 x warm-up exercises plus the beginning of a traditional Czech song we are learning for Christmas (trad/ms). The voice you can hear is that of the Chef de Chorale, Julien Reynaud (nf).

6:Carl Goss sent this:

to accompany this

"Don’t know if this is of interest for ‘sounds of summer’ but it’s the sound of our chickens being fed in the garden. Unfortunately they don’t roam free anymore since we had a fox attack a few months back. We lost three of our lovely girls including Brenda Brown chest and Snowy White (my six year old daughter Catherine insisted on naming them). We were of course all very sad and deeply concerned for the four remaining, the spread of foxes into the urban environment seems to go on unabated. But we added more wire, and strengthened the chicken pen and they’ve been alright since.
Their enclosure is an old fruit cage, having seen the horrendous price of chicken coops. The raspberries and gooseberries still survive higher up!! We decided to buy a £99 B and Q shed and customise it, building a storage container and nest box on one side. They are Belgium Bantams by the way with lovely little eggs (attached photo of the very first one we got, how proud we were!!). I don't think we’ve ever had such tasty, or yellow, Omelettes!!
We took on seven girls and one boy... Basil!
Sadly after one day and ONE MORNING, the cockerel had to go. He was just too noisy for the neighbours. No we didn’t eat him, we found him a new loving home, at a specialist breeder and now he’s the father of countless Belgiums (if you know what I mean!) The owner has promised if we want some fertislised eggs anytime to just ask! He said pop them under your broody hens and Bobs your Uncle, or rather Basils your Dad.....Cockadoodledoo!"

GET VOTING! We are expecting irregularities so the whole thing is being monitored by Alan Yentob.

*We've already chosen the winner, of course.

1030 UPDATE: Yes it seems number six is a bit broken. Apologies. Yentob furious. Fixing now. Stand by.
1038 UPDATE: All the links now work. Thanks to Kyren who made it happen.

Tomorrow on the PM Blog: YOU choose the Sound of Summer

Eddie Mair | 17:50 UK time, Thursday, 27 September 2007


Check back tomorrow and add a comment before 16.00

The Glass Box for Thursday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:42 UK time, Thursday, 27 September 2007


is the place to comment on tonight's programme.

David McNickle of St Albans

Eddie Mair | 14:18 UK time, Thursday, 27 September 2007


your mail did indeed arrive.

He writes:

"Eddie, this is a photo of a sculpture I made from odds and ends I found while on holiday in France. I thought you might like to put it on the PM Blog, possibly the Beach. Eat your heart out Damien Hurst, Tracy Emin, the Chapman Bros etc"

Here it is: and yes it's on The Beach too!


Sounds of the Summer

Eddie Mair | 14:03 UK time, Thursday, 27 September 2007


is drawing to a close, and tonight we have some Morris Dancing. Or is it Morris dancing?

On Monday, before the return of Big Ben we're planning a montage of some of our favourite sounds. If you have one that sticks in the mind, let us know and we'll try to include it.

I'm thinking of making our final sound, tomorrow, one of the odder ones we've received....

Bit of paper lying around on my office phone...

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 10:29 UK time, Thursday, 27 September 2007



Further apologies.

Eddie Mair | 12:24 UK time, Wednesday, 26 September 2007


I've posted a few comments in a number of threads, saying sorry for the fact comments are taking a long time to post, and that 502 error messages are so common.

Please accept my apologies.

I wish I could advise on what the problem is or what causes it or better still when it will be fixed. I can't. I'm sorry. I'll hold off from posting more until we have some answers. No point in cheesing you off.

Two photos for you

Eddie Mair | 08:52 UK time, Wednesday, 26 September 2007


first, regular frogger Roberto in Miami sends: "Roberto with the University of Miami Sports Mascot called Sebastian". Roberto is on the right.


And below is a snap of some props I saw sitting around on my way through TV Centre this morning. They could be empties from the Newsnight green room.


Been trying to post a comment

Eddie Mair | 05:44 UK time, Wednesday, 26 September 2007


like so many people have for days, only to be 502'd. Sorry it's still like this. Doesn't bode well for trying to do our new show.

So to cheer us all up - I'm posting this.


Eddie Mair | 17:42 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2007


What do you think?

The Glass Box for Tuesday

Eddie Mair | 15:54 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2007


This is the place to comment on the content of the programme. If you'd like to talk about Burma or stammering - just cursor down the page a bit and you'll find space there.

If there's a topic you'd like to raise - click on The Furrowed Brow on the right.

There's fun to be had on The Beach. And if you'd like a preview of a brand new programme coming to Radio 4 - click on iPM.

From inside Burma

Eddie Mair | 14:14 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2007


the BBC has been sent these:
"In the pouring rain, citizens link arms to form a protective human fence on both sides of protesting monks, Yangon. I took the photo, you are free to use it if desired, but I do not want any attribution." ANON

"Myanmar monks at Hledan". The picture is taken from my home. - Zayar

"Burmese monks protesting on the Shwedagon Pagoda Road in Yangon, Burma" - Stephen

1525 UPDATE: And on the programme tonight, what BBC Monitoring is picking up from the official Burmese media, and an interview with the youngest son of the first President of Burma: Harn Yawnghwe.

Stammering. Is it comedy?

Eddie Mair | 12:23 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2007


The British Stammering Association has complained to YouTube over videos like the one above, which are classified as "comedy". In the programme tonight we'll talk to the man in the video below:

1515 UPDATE: I've just interviewed Leys Geddes - the man you see in the video immediately above. We spoke about the YouTube debate, some of the comments on this blog, Arkwright, and how to edit interviews with people who stammer.

Is Corrie Corfield losing her mind?

Eddie Mair | 11:55 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2007


It's a question people have been asking for some time, and with good reason. But on last night's programme there was this odd moment.

In fairness to Corrie, she is not losing her mind. Or at least if she is, this is not evidence of it.

Our newsroom colleagues who write the news for 1700, 1715, 1730 and 1745 had been asked to update a story for the 1745 headlines. They were doing JUST that when Corrie launched into her read, off the computer screen, at around 1743. The sentence she was reading vanished before her eyes.

It's a scary thing when that happens, and now that we've gone a bit greener on PM and are doing it without paper, it's a danger. In a similar vein, my eyes are drawn to a correction in The Guardian today: "A short news item headed Council sells Lowry painting for £1.25m, page 18, yesterday, was nearly a year old and had already appeared in the paper in November 2006. A slip of the finger led to the wrong story being filed."

The Glass Box for Monday

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Eddie Mair | 16:32 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007


is the place where you can - nay, SHOULD comment on the content of tonight's programme. Love it or hate it - please add your comment here. Our editor will read them all and respond as she sees fit. But be nice - she's had contact lens trouble today.

How snowy is Scotland?

Eddie Mair | 14:09 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007


This ad is proving controversial. More on the programme tonight.

Remember Window on Your World?

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Eddie Mair | 12:44 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007


Don't worry, we're not about to do it again....but the new programme, coming on Saturdays in November has an "i" in the title.

I just want you to think for now about who you are. What is "i" when applied to you? And if you had to take a photograph of something which represented "i"...what would it show?

Your face? Another part of your body (stop that sniggering)...your family? Your home? Your job?

More details to come...but give it some thought, please.

Tonight's Sound of Summer comes from

Eddie Mair | 11:42 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007



Big Ben Update

Eddie Mair | 11:35 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007


If all goes to plan our Sounds of the Summer (ahem) will come to an end this Friday - we're told that Mr Ben hopes to be up and chiming from next Monday at 8am. So if you've been putting off sending yours - get on with it! Details of how to send are under 1a: PM's Sounds of Summer, on the right.

Hugh sends these snapshots of Baghdad...

Eddie Mair | 10:57 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007


and writes: "George Bush said on TV two weeks ago, "Ordinary life is beginning to return (to Baghdad)". Inevitably, cocooned at an airbase in the western Iraqi desert, the President couldn't see anything for himself. So, in case you are an Eddie Mair blog fan, Mr. President, here's a sample of Ordinary Life in Baghdad.

It looks ordinary in this picture. Ordinary traffic jam. We are stopped to make way for a convoy of ordinary US Army Humvees.

Baghdad is only 'ordinary' behind concrete blast walls, sandbags and razor wire.This is Saddoun Street - Baghdad's equivalent of Oxford Street in London.

Barbed wire and sanbdbag protection for a bank on Saddoun Street.

A residential neighbourhood in west Baghdad. More ordinary concrete barriers and barbed wire.

Our bureau noticeboard. A typical day. Those details are so routine as to be barely reported.

Iraqi army AAV (Amphibious Assault Vehicle) guarding the road to Baghdad airport.

Remote control checkpoint on the airport road. Troops in the bunker use binoculars to check ID - so if you are a suicide bomber you only kill yourself, and other drivers nearby. The strange-looking sand-coloured vehicle ahead is the Rhino - an armour-plated bus for transporting contractors)

You have been warned.

Checkpoint, and anti-blast walls, near the airport.

Baghdad airport. An ordinary convoy of fourteen security vehicles - carrying Iraqi President Talabani - crossed the tarmac just before I took this picture."

The Furrowed Brow

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Eddie Mair | 06:37 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007


The place for Serious Talk.

Any Questions

Eddie Mair | 08:12 UK time, Saturday, 22 September 2007


started here for me - in the new St Pancreas station as everyone likes to call it. It's still in progress. Downstairs there are signs proclaiming the imminent arrival of a range of shops. For now, small shops and temporary carts are squeezed into available space. Upstairs there's this:


which immediately catches the eye, although getting a better view of it is restricted by fencing for now. You can peer at a Eurostar train if you're that way inclined


although as you can see most of these commuters waiting for the 1555 to Nottingham (they all had colds) were busy doing not very much.


They should ban those Cornish pasty places from setting up at stations. One had a stall right next to that group above, and the delicious smell wafted everywhere.

Although the programme was coming from Barton under Needwood, the regular Any Questions dinner was booked for a nearby village. When Anne and Helen who run the show turned up, there was no chef and they had apparently lost our booking. A new place was found - nice view too - and we found ten minutes to grab some fish and chips. I have no photos of that and the speed we were eating it's probably just as well...

The Glass Box for Friday

Sequin | 17:03 UK time, Friday, 21 September 2007


THIS is where to talk about the content of tonight's PM. If there's other stuff on your mind - this is not the place.
For serious topics try The Furrowed Brow. For fun and frolics there's The Beach.


Peter Rippon | 11:02 UK time, Friday, 21 September 2007


Our talented reporter Yvonne Murray sends this visual clue to her piece that will be on the programme tonight.


Sequin | 09:57 UK time, Friday, 21 September 2007


I've only been away from London for a week and mine is full - mostly nonsense, of course. Managed to get through the Lib Dem conference on a diet of fish and chips, Picnic bars , coffee and red wine , and now armed with invitations and info am preparing to head off to Bournemouth for Labour's gathering. I'm also armed with a conference cold. Par for the course.

Pigeon-hole, incidentally, to be absolutely correct ,should now be spelt pigeon hole. According to the Telegraph the hyphen has fallen by the wayside, as it has in a number of other words like fig leaf, and leapfrog. The reason, apparently, is because we no longer have time to reach over to the hyphen key in our busy text and email- dominated 21st century lives. We're hoping to discuss the death of the hyphen on the prog tonight. Do you care? Does it get you up-in-arms (or up in arms)?

Off air, we will be discussing further the colour of Peter Rippon's jumper - he's wearing an olive green continental number today - very Jose Morinho.

The Beach

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Eddie Mair | 07:16 UK time, Friday, 21 September 2007


What is the Beach?

It’s a place to go when the stresses of your real life need relieving. Sometimes it is fairly quiet and you might feel like you’re the only one around, but you can leave your ‘footprints’ for others to find later on. Othertimes it is the home for a real party, with constant gossip, leg-pulling, rumour, innuendo, chit-chat and weirdness.

If this were a forum (and it sort of is because we post responses to each other, not just to Eddie, hence our term for ourselves 'Froggers', a combination of forum and blogger) then the beach would be the off-topic area.
It's a tropical location, no matter the time of year it's always warm and pleasant there.

Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular, the evenings balmy. It has a number of different locations; the Nick Clarke waterfront bar; the smokers corner; Fido's Run for the dog-walkers; the Naughty Step and many others.
How do you find your way around? There is no direct answer to the question.

The beach is a moveable feast, literally. It will be renewed by our Lord and master Mr. Edward de Mair each Friday morning. This is because we have found in the past that when the number of posts exceeds about 600 the entire thing becomes unwieldy and unstable. A case of the beach turning to quicksand.

Froggers often leave bottles / glasses / trays of their favourite tipple on the bar for others to sample, not to mention big / small eats.

There is a herd of camels who frequent the sands, which froggers are very fond of. There are sun-loungers, so you can take it easy and catch some rays. Quite often the late-night attendees will have a barbie.

It's a fun place, with only one real rule; Be nice to each other; we are ALL chums here. New Froggers are ALWAYS welcome.

The real debate happens on the other threads. The beach is a place for banter, whimsy, relaxation and friendship, where jarring comments are not particularly welcome. There are certain very mild protocols, which you tend to pick up as you go along. So slip your shoes off, feel the sand between your toes, relax and enjoy yourself.


The Glass Box for Thursday

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Eddie Mair | 16:11 UK time, Thursday, 20 September 2007


is the place to say what you liked and didn't like about the content of tonight's programme. Rupert will respond as soon as he sobers up.

A busy old day

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 15:50 UK time, Thursday, 20 September 2007


what with one thing and another. The highlight was a briefing on Blogs and such like from Robin - whose own blog is here. Lots of fun ideas for how to make the iPM site whizz-bangy.


Eddie Mair | 14:13 UK time, Thursday, 20 September 2007


on the programme tonight - or as Nigel Wrench writes:

"A civil war, a bloody feud, and a wedding. It's opera, not real life. And it's on PM this afternoon, set in Britain in 2080, called The Sacrifice.

This is James MacMillan, the composer and conductor doing something with his hands outside the Wales Millennium Centre where The Sacrifice has its first performance on Saturday. Nigel was at the last dress rehearsal yesterday and that's where he took these pictures. Here's James MacMillan conducting:


And two scenes from the opera:

And here's James MacMillan (blurred, centre, Nigel says no flash was allowed) taking a bow with the cast:

Nigel talks to James MacMillan on PM tonight and you can hear the first recording of parts of The Sacrifice broadcast anywhere. The whole opera is on Radio Three on October 13th if that's whetted your appetite.

Indebted, as ever to Big Sis

Eddie Mair | 13:42 UK time, Thursday, 20 September 2007


for her pictorial preview of an Any Questions location.


By the way - have you noticed the lack of Twitter? We took it down because it didn't do what we hoped it would. Postings took an age to make it onto the Blog - we tested the other day and one took more than an hour and a we've stopped it. Judging by comments on other threads it won't be missed...

After :-)

Eddie Mair | 11:33 UK time, Thursday, 20 September 2007


we got this email from Glyn Polliington:

"I enjoyed your item tonight on the invention and use of emoticons in email and other forms. Your final question to the interviewee was which symbol he would choose for his gravestone. Well, more suited to web designers and html authors I suppose, but I really like this one-


The Glass Box for Wednesday

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Eddie Mair | 16:38 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2007


Comment here on tonight's programme. :o)


Eddie Mair | 14:18 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2007


We ARE doing an item today on the emoticon - 25 years old today. What do you think of them - and do you have a favourite?

"Associated Press Writer - PITTSBURGH (AP) - It was a serious contribution to the electronic lexicon.
Twenty-five years ago, Carnegie Mellon University
professor Scott E. Fahlman says, he was the first to use
three keystrokes - a colon followed by a hyphen and a
parenthesis - as a horizontal «smiley face» in a computer

Mr Fahlman will join me on the programme - here he is....and he'll discuss emoticons with Hugo Rifkind who says "emoticons are vile and for idiots"


A postcard arrives from Fifi

Eddie Mair | 12:47 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2007


to mark Chris Ghoti's send love from her and froggers everywhere.


...and I should add of course that it is the work of Simon Drew.

An interview we did on Monday

Eddie Mair | 10:34 UK time, Wednesday, 19 September 2007


gets a bit of coverage today - in Jeff Randall's column in the Daily Telegraph...

"IF your faith in finance ministers is unshaken, listen again to Monday's Eddie Mair interview with Andy Burnham, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, on Radio 4's... PM programme. Asked why the Government doesn't guarantee 100pc of all bank deposits, Burnham, who sounded completely out of his depth, replied that it would be "the wrong thing'' for politicians to get involved "in that way''. Less than an hour later, Darling wrote a blank cheque."

On another you know we went "paperless" on PM the other day. No scripts printed. Rainforests saved. Marvellous. I still grab a notebook to scribble things down on. This is the main page for last night's programme, unedited from a torrid hour of broadcasting.


Serial killer or WHAT?

Fancy buying Belgium?

Eddie Mair | 16:41 UK time, Tuesday, 18 September 2007


It's for sale. The chap with this Blog is selling it, and talking to PM tonight.

The Glass Box for Tuesday.

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Eddie Mair | 16:20 UK time, Tuesday, 18 September 2007


Go on.

Police car chases...

Eddie Mair | 12:29 UK time, Tuesday, 18 September 2007


..the IPCC has come up with some ideas on cutting the number of deaths in high speed police car chases. Just about to record some interviews on the subject for the programme tonight. If you fancy reading more about it, here is the report.

We've had a lot

Eddie Mair | 10:10 UK time, Tuesday, 18 September 2007


of requests about the lifesaver bottle - on the blog and by email. We cut the poor man off before he'd really begun and listeners were left hanging. I've suggested we try to get him on again tonight to finish the job. Sorry it all got squeezed.

1215 UPDATE: Recording an interview with Mr Pritchard in 25 minutes. Hurrah!

1340 UPDATE: We have now recorded the interview, and if you'd like to know more about the product as some people have requested, it's here.

The Glass Box for Monday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:07 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2007


THIS is the place to comment on tonight's programme. Your editor is Jeremy.

Northern Rock.

Eddie Mair | 12:31 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2007


Don't say I don't try to help you.

To find out more about the current financial turmoil and what it could mean for you, try this.


Eddie Mair | 12:23 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2007


will be on our minds tonight. Michael Buchanan will report for us - he sent us this...

"from the port of Cherbourg where security officials are engaged in a daily game of cat and mouse with immigrants, mainly from Iraq, who are constantly trying to illegally cross the Channel to England. The metal fence which surrounds the port is backed up by 24 hr CCTV and the officials have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on improving security this year. But there are breaches everyday, and both the French and British authorities admit that some immigrants do manage to sneak onto the back of lorries and cross the Channel. "


Tony - Emmy, Emmy - Tony.

Eddie Mair | 10:29 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2007


With thanks to Variety where I cribbed this from:

Ellen Degeneres, "79th Annual Academy Awards," ABC, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Stephen Colbert, "The Colbert Report," Comedy Central, Central Productions with Busboy Productions and Sparina Productions
Jon Stewart, "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Comedy Central, Central Productions LLC and Hello Doggie, Inc.
David Letterman, "Late Show With David Letterman," CBS, Worldwide Pants, Inc.
WINNER: Tony Bennett, "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," NBC, RPM TV Productions, Inc.

Bruce Gowers, "American Idol: The Finale, Fox, FremantleMedia N.A., Inc. & 19TV Ltd.
Jim Hoskinson, "The Colbert Report: Show #2161, Comedy Central, Central Productions with Busboy Productions and Sparina Productions
Chuck O'Neil, "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart: Show #12061, Comedy Central, Central Productions LLC and Hello Doggie, Inc.
Don Roy King, "Saturday Night Live: Host: Alec Baldwin, NBC, SNL Studios in association with NBC Studios and Broadway Video
WINNER: Rob Marshall, "Tony Bennett: An American Classic, NBC, RPM TV Productions, Inc.

"The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner," Comedy Central, Tenth Planet in association with Comedy Central
"The Kennedy Center Honors: A National Celebration Of The Performing Arts," CBS, A George Stevens, Jr. Presentation for Kennedy Center Television Productions
"Lewis Black: Red, White & Screwed," HBO, Rickmill Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
WINNER: "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," NBC, RPM TV Productions, Inc.
"A Tribute To James Taylor (Great Performances)," PBS, A Production of Warner Music Group in association with Thirteen/WNET New York
"Wanda Sykes: Sick And Tired," HBO, A Sykes Entertainment / Music Link Productions and Images Entertainment in association with HBO Entertainment"

The Furrowed Brow

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 06:39 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2007


The place for serious talk.


Eddie Mair | 13:03 UK time, Saturday, 15 September 2007


is lovely.

We are very excited to be here for Any Answers. The photo was taken a little earlier outside the National Galleries of Scotland where there is an exhibition of, well, guess who...


...although this afternoon it was more like this..



Sequin | 17:03 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2007


THIS is where to talk about the content of tonight's PM. If there's other stuff on your mind - this is not the place.
For serious topics try The Furrowed Brow. For fun and frolics there's The Beach.

Congo update

Sequin | 12:31 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2007


Remember last Friday when we carried that harrowing piece from Karen Allen about conditions for women in Eastern Congo? I certainly found it incredibly moving and horrifying. So did you, looking at the comments on the blog. Many of you got in touch to ask for more information.

if you missed it, you can hear her report again here

Karen sent PM this in response to your comments:

It's always a gamble reporting these kinds of stories in such graphic detail, but I think you cannot stray away from the facts and "sanitise" these atrocities.Rape is never acceptable but it is the extreme lengths that armed groups go to punish, maim and destroy entire communities, which makes this story so shocking. As one person on the blog pointed out, this behaviour is "not new", it's just that so much of it has gone unreported. I've seen a lot of broken bodies in my time as a journalist but this really did push the limit.
For me the enduring memory of my time spent at Panzi hospital was the silence of women, in stark beds lined up along the ward, almost resigned to their fate. As Dr Dennis Mkwege said to me "the unacceptable has become accepted".
He gets a lot of people like me coming to see him, but there's very little decisive action that's taken to change the situation. Of course groups like Human Rights Watch are trying to lobby for change but the immediate needs of these women are not always met. Some people have asked how they can support the hospital. Here's the link to its website if you want to contact it directly. Bear in mind that although the website is in English, the hospital's working language is French.

Hard Rock

Sequin | 11:54 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2007


A little appeal...

We've just had our meeting - Rupert's in charge. We are of course watching to see what reaction there has been from savers, how many have decided to take out all their money and we're hoping to assemble some financial experts to offer advice to Northern Rock savers. We've heard already about one man in the Midlands who's withdrawn £150,000 and reports of 50 to 100 people queuing outside another branch. If you have a personal story to tell, or if you are preparing to withdraw your savings, could you let us know? We'd like to get a "personal" interview on the programme this evening.

Can you help?

On the road

Sequin | 09:24 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2007


Wasn't at TVC today quite in time to capture the mesmeric sunrise over the satellite dishes.....but had a lovely bike ride in this morning.

While Ed travels to AQ, after PM today, I'll be off on the cross-Britain trek that is the party conference season. Difficult to believe it's here again. Lib Dems in Brighton this weekend, then Labour in Bournemouth and the Conservatives in Blackpool. Lots of strong coffee required.

Any thoughts on how I can get through the three weeks?....


Eddie Mair | 07:53 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2007


maybe once or twice in your life, you see a sunset so stunning - so....mesmerising....that you wish you could capture it for all to see.

Incredibly, I was able to snap this at around 7 last night, at work.



Carolyn - you are truly lucky to be there today.

The Beach

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Eddie Mair | 06:16 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2007


It's Playtime....

Let sleeping babies lie?

Eddie Mair | 17:39 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2007


or not? What do you think having heard our "baby" interview?

The Glass Box for Thursday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:29 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2007


What did you think of the programme?

Tonight's sound of summer

Eddie Mair | 13:02 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2007


comes from Annasee:

"In response to your request, I attach a clip of the sounds of summer recorded in Gibside (Rowlands Gill, Derwent Valley, Gateshead) on Friday, 24 August. Possibly the nicest day of the whole summer. Absolute perfection, clear blue skies, marvellous views, warm, sunny, the mildest of breezes. Lots of bird life, distant traffic noise, sheep, occasional aeroplanes. The estate is an 18th c survival owned by National Trust. Originally built by George Bowes, a coal baron. The gem of the surviving buildings is the Palladian chapel, (with mausoleum underneath, photos of the coffins available in an album in the church, but I know that’s way too much information for you…I just found them fascinating!)"


In anticipation of

Eddie Mair | 11:47 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2007


tomorrow's Any Questions, Big Sis sends this...


Oh and after yesterday's photos, Hugh will report from Iraq on the programme tonight.

We have been paperless

Eddie Mair | 10:15 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2007


for the last two programmes and you know what, I think it's working.

My breathing is better, the weather is more pleasant, and there's more MPG.

BTW: remember our report last week from Congo? Our intrepid reporter is back and may well have something for the Blog a bit later.

The Glass Box for Wednesday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:31 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2007


is your place to speak out on the content of tonight's programme.

Alex the Parrot has died.

Eddie Mair | 16:05 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2007


and we'll talk on the programme to someone who knew him well.

Hugh has been in touch -

Eddie Mair | 15:22 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2007


He says:

"Here are some more images from Baghdad.

Again, no works of art here - just snatched images on a rushed trip to do some interviews at the 'Thieves' Market', off Tahrir Square. Tahrir means Liberation - the square commemorates the end of the monarchy and the establishment of the Republic of Iraq in 1958. When will you hear the interviews? Not sure. Maybe on PM later in the week.

It's called 'Thieves' Market' because it's where, supposedly, burglars used to sell their loot. Now it's a ramshackle collection of shops and stalls in alleyways and along the pavements. The section I visited - for all of 15 minutes - is mostly shops and stalls selling electronic stuff, from satellite dishes and decoders to mobile phones. Oh, and loads of fake DVDs.

When I said, "Marhaba, ana sahafe min BBC, Britannia" ("Hello, I'm a journalist from etc.."), this man selling watches said, in a loud voice, "Good Britannia, good!".

Friendly greetings from the cable guys.

More cables and connectors for satellite TV. And another big grin. His friends out of shot are teasing him about having his picture taken.

Slow hot lazy afternoon, watching the world go by. About 35 centigrade I guess (95 F).

Those kind-faced traders feel a bit safer now, thanks to the concrete blast wall that protects them from passing bombers. This is the kind of thing they've had to endure as they make their living:

June 14th, 2004: at least 11 people died when three 4x4 vehicles were blown up as they were passing through Tahrir Square.

Oct 24th, 2005: an suicide bomber blew up his car in Tahrir Square Sunday, killing four people.

May 7, 2005: A car bomb blew up on Baghdad's busy Tahrir square Saturday, killing 17 and wounding more than 30 people."

Oh and Hugh adds that he's put answers to some of the questions about the last photo into the comments section with it.

Just had

Eddie Mair | 14:23 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2007


two lovely people from the Radio Times in, to take some snaps as part of their coverage of Radios 1-4 being 40. Felt sorry for them. I'm almost the last in a long line of radio folk they had to photograph - Harriet Cass is being done now.

Radio is so unvisual. There's headphones on/headphones off. Flicking through scripts (standing and sitting), pretending to talk to producer, and of course pointing.

They were great and will have done a good job. But they didn't have much to work with.

We have a name for the new programme...

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 19:34 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


being revealed here publicly for the first time...

and it should be obvious... :o)


Eddie Mair | 17:14 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


Crossing the road...and for that matter going on holiday in term time. If you have a view this is the place.

Dogs too!

Eddie Mair | 17:14 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


what do you think?

PM will be a bit greener tonight.

Eddie Mair | 16:54 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


As I seem to remember discussing before somewhere on the Blog, I still use paper scripts for PM. I often read off screen but sometimes the screen is so busy with emails, blogs, texts etc, the script bit can get lost. Also: sometimes computers crash (it happened to me once live on Five Live) and it's good to have a paper back up.

Even though I've been recycling the PM scripts ( no jokes please ) for some time, tonight I will be scriptless throughout.

Listen out for that click of the mouse...

The Glass Box for Tuesday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:29 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


...the place to talk about how PM did tonight...

This has come in from "The Pharmacy Girls"

Eddie Mair | 14:48 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


and we thank them.


Special Educational Needs update

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 14:08 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


Look at this.

How's yer Latin?

Eddie Mair | 13:05 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


This month, 750 children in 20 East London state primary and secondary schools will be starting Latin as part of their literacy curriculum. We've a report on it tonight. To get you all excited in advance here are some riddles set by Dr Lorna Robinson, who features in our report. She also has a website.

Nexa ligor ferro, multos habitura ligatos;
vincior ipsa prius, sed vincio vincta vicissim;
et solvi multos, nec sum tamen ipsa soluta.

Then there's this:

Terra mihi corpus, vires mihi praestitit igis;
de terra nascor; sedes est semper in alto;
et me perfundit, qui me cito deserit, umor.

And this...

Sunt mihi, sunt lacrimae, sed non est causa doloris.
Est iter ad caelum, sed me gravis inpedit aer;
et qui me genuit sine me non nascitur ipse.

The answers will follow.


Eddie Mair | 11:57 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


the parental desire to protect children from harm having the opposite effect?

It's a long time since THIS was the message hammered home to children.

Department for Transport figures show that the proportion of children who're not allowed to cross the road on their own is going up. Last year 49 per cent of parents of 7-10 year olds said they never allowed their offspring to cross the road unsupervised. Five years ago only 41 per cent of parents took that view.

Yet over the same period the number of 7-10 year olds killed on the road rose from 10 to 18.

This afternoon I'll be talking to Rob Gifford who works for the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, and you'll be able to hear the interview in the programme.

An update on the tomorrow strand from yesterday -

Eddie Mair | 09:38 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2007


Chris sends these photos to accompany tonight's follow up - it's the new bishop back at his parish in Virginia, All Saints Dale City...

The Glass Box for Monday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:09 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2007


is here!

Add your comment about the content of tonight's programme.

Don't even think of writing about something else. Try FAQ on the right for a guide to the Blog. Remember, we know who you are, where you live and just what the hell you're trying to pull.

Is there a Blog Blockage?

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 13:37 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2007


Am curious. Earlier posting not here.

In any case, we have set ourselves an artificial deadline of Thursday night to come up with our choice of title for the new programme.

Stand by.

Just interviewed

Eddie Mair | 13:15 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2007


John Bolton - who is appearing on The World at One right now, talking about Iraq.

We were talking about Pakistan. I enjoyed it hugely. I asked him one question - he answered in the briefest way, and I thought - mmm, THAT was interesting, he should expand on that.

But wily soul that he is, Mr Bolton was not about to fall into that trap. So a long gap ensued. We will play it in full on the programme tonight.

(I blinked first)


Eddie Mair | 10:19 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2007


Christopher Landau will have what I suppose amounts to part two of a series.

He'll report from the US, as a follow up to the piece we brought you last Monday. This is how we introduced it then:

"Centuries of tradition in the Anglican Communion are under threat - the balance of power is changing.

As a result of the divisions over homosexuality, African churches are finding ways of by-passing Lambeth Palace.

Officially the American Church has until the end of the month to state whether or not it will allow more gay bishops in future. But African churches are not hanging around and are trying to provide a welcome to disillusioned American Anglicans by creating African church branches inside the United States.

The Church of Uganda has just created its own new Bishop. Our reporter Christopher Landau was at the ceremony..."

and here are the pics! As I say he'll let you know how the new Bishop's getting on, tomorrow night.






Eddie Mair | 10:13 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2007


swears she was in Stamford for AQ on Friday night. She's sent photos as proof.

Do these prove anything? ;o)


The Furrowed Brow

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 05:54 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2007


The place for serious talk.

The New Programme...can you name it? Blog Exclusive.

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 14:04 UK time, Sunday, 9 September 2007


The New Programme is something you might remember from a previous posting. Starting later in the year, it will have a strong interactive content. It'll go out ever week for 7 weeks, at the weekend. You might find clicking on the link on the previous entry in this category will help. But it probably won't.

Anyhoo, there was a big meeting on Friday at which progress was made. A new site will be built and a name will be found. We'll post more audio this week which will keep you informed of our thinking. Or at least our "thinking".

As you may know, the working title for the programme is "The Blog Prog" which has its pros and cons and will probably not be used.

I rather like the idea of building on the PM brand, identifying the new show as something that individuals can shape more than PM - a more personal experience - and call it iPM.

I'm sure you can do better. Any ideas on a programme name?

I appreciate that having an opinion would be easier if we were clearer about what the hell it is. But any initial thoughts would be welcome. And feel free to come back to this page to add ideas as the mist clears. If it ever does.

In response to Jonnie

Eddie Mair | 08:38 UK time, Saturday, 8 September 2007


in a comment on the last posting - I'm afraid the en route snaps being downloaded on the train were impossible.

The cab that came to take me to the station "yes I know this area really well" started heading BACK to my house ten minutes after we left. There then followed a tortuous route through parts of London I'd never seen before as he frantically tried to avoid a traffic jam, the details of which he'd mis-heard on the radio travel news. Westbound was screwed, but our route east, was in fact fine.

I arrived at the station exactly one minute after my train left.

So I caught the next one - different company, no wifi, and spent most of the hour or so to Peterborough on the phone to the production team. The travel co-ordination that goes into making an Any Questions is MUCH more complex than any other part of the programme! If one bit goes awry the knock-on effect can be severe.

Anyhoo, towards the end of the journey I did snap these, in a bit of a hurry on the mobile. It was, as you can see, a beautiful night.


Glass Box for Friday

Sequin | 15:46 UK time, Friday, 7 September 2007


I am posting this good and early..... might as well be good on my first day back!

The Glass Box is where to talk about the content of tonight's PM. Remember though, if there are other things on your mind this is not the place. Try instead The Furrowed Brow for serious topics or for fun and frolics there's The Beach.

Plenty for everyone.

Saddle up...

Sequin | 09:34 UK time, Friday, 7 September 2007


After two and a half weeks of holiday , back to earth with a bump - literally. Got knocked off my bike by a white van deciding to turn left suddenly. The joys of cycling in London. All is well though, no scratches and it's lovely to be back with you today while Ed does Any Questions.

I read Wuthering Heights on holiday. The last time was a million years ago at school. Couldn't put it down - what a rediscovery. Any other good holiday reading recommendations?

Will be back later after we've had our meeting and I've re-educated myself in what I have to do!


The Beach

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 07:32 UK time, Friday, 7 September 2007



The Glass Box for Thursday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:17 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007


is the place to comment on the content of PM.

Bono on Pavarotti

Eddie Mair | 15:58 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007


He spoke to PM this afternoon.


Eddie Mair | 14:27 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007


cards from Aperitif - one from the Lake District and one of a Common Frog.



And "a frogger" sends this from Mull.


As we prepare for Any Questions tomorrow here is

Eddie Mair | 14:07 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007


the traditional postcard from Big Sis:


who adds: "You may well ask "What connection does the town have with TE Lawrence?" to which I'll have to confess that this is a little homage to an lovely elderly gentleman I once knew well, who lived in Stamford, and who served with Lawrence of Arabia in WW1. I think both of them deserve a little memorial, don't you?"

Bono and Pavarotti.

Eddie Mair | 13:29 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007


In the last half hour we recorded an interview with Bono about Luciano Pavarotti. You can hear it in full on the programme - and we may well post it here before then.

Young people and the criminal justice system.

Eddie Mair | 12:51 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007


As I mentioned in the PM newsletter, I've interviewed Sally O'Neill QC, who chairs the Criminal Bar Association.

An edited version will be broadcast tonight - here is the full version - it's about ten minutes long.

Mr Hugh sends this to us all:

Eddie Mair | 10:51 UK time, Thursday, 6 September 2007


"I don't get many chances to take photos in Baghdad any more, sadly.
And this one isn't exactly a work of art. But it's the best I could do on a brief trip 'out' to talk to café customers about the 'surge' and al Qaeda and all that. You'll hear their answers - on PM or somewhere else, it's not up to me - in a day or two.


But the picture does give a sense of the mood in this small district of Baghdad, known as Karada In (as opposed to Karada Out). If you have a map, Karada is on the long peninsula on the big bend in the Tigris river in the city centre.

In the photo, it's early evening. The sun has just gone down after a very hot day. (about 40 deg C, 100 F).
On the far right, there's an old-fashioned hot-dog stall.
In the centre, on the other side of the road, people walking. Or just standing.
And cars driving by. And two men on a motorbike
And on the pavements, clothes for sale, hanging on rails on the pavement.
The café chairs are all outside - too hot indoors.
The customers were all friendly and welcoming, and the café owner Laith was wonderful - when I arrived, he rushed about saying "There's a reporter here, please talk to him".
Unusually, the mains power was on, so the strip lights are lit without the throb of a generator wrecking the radio interviews.
So everything's fine?
No it's not. This scene is very unusual. It used to be common everywhere in Baghdad. Not any more. And whatever they say about the 'surge', nearly two thousand people were killed in Iraq last month - eight percent more than in February when the surge started. Shockingly, the killings have become so routine that we seldom report them any more unless there's a major explosion. "Dying in Baghdad is normal," one man said to me a while back, " the weather"."

The Glass Box for Wednesday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:28 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2007


is the place to talk about the content of tonight's show.

After some comments in The Glass Box for Tuesday

Eddie Mair | 12:44 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2007


here is the full version of the interview with Louise Christian for you to hear.

Sounds of the Summer

Eddie Mair | 12:32 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2007


is proving to be huge fun for us - I hope it is working for you too.

I love how these ideas grow. I remember a few weeks ago getting the BBC email saying the bongs were going off - and I posted summat here. We faffed around for a bit, worried we wouldn't have enough sounds, and we had a few debates about what constituted a summer sound. In the first few days there was even talk of using SOUND EFFECTS!

But we wanted to keep the sounds "real" and related to this summer.

Now, we're inundated. Last week we even got a call from a PR person at a well known theme park offering sounds from her place. As it happens we already had plans for a sound from a different theme park, but it's funny how word gets out.

Rather a fun

Eddie Mair | 10:52 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2007


chat last night with three former Radio 4 controllers and the current one - Mark something.

They were fascinating. You'll be able to hear it on 30 September as part of a special programme to mark 3,000 years of Radio 4. I think it's part of the Radio 4 sex season.

I mentioned our proposed new name for the "blog prog" to the controller and he knocked me unconscious.

The Froggers Song (final)

Eddie Mair | 10:47 UK time, Wednesday, 5 September 2007


is here.

The Glass Box for Tuesday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:04 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2007


is here. Feel free to comment on what you heard - or even what you THINK you heard....

AM UPDATE: and don't forget if you want to clarify something you can always use the listen again function on the Radio 4 website! :o)

Rather a busy morning.

Eddie Mair | 11:51 UK time, Tuesday, 4 September 2007


I forgot that I had a monthly meeting at 10. Good chat about "The Blog Prog". We may not call it that.

Am looking forward very much to something I'm doing after PM that will be broadcast later this month on Radio 4. What would YOU ask three former and one current controller of the network?

More postcards have arrived - Aperitif what are you ON?

Standing by for Gordon Brown's news conference at noon.

And I wonder, if you have any personal memories of the remarkable Jane Tomlinson, who has died.


I don't think I ever interviewed her, but she was on the platform at a university graduation ceremony I attended in Dundee. The sustained standing ovation she received was astoundingly moving. I thought it would never end, and didn't want it to. The work she did seemed to touch people in all manner of ways. Just wondered if you met her, or, like me, had a shared experience of her.

From Mark in Romania

Eddie Mair | 17:52 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2007



local driving horse and cart near village of Mihai Kogalniceanu in south east Romania.

Herdsman Ion Duculesu pouring fresh milk into churn.

French farmer Arnaud Perrain's new tractor - the EU gave him about £170,000 to help buy it.

1150 UPDATE: Oh and there was this one too that I didn't have time to upload last night:
Arnaud Perrian and his Italian neighbour standing in front of Arnaud's new tractor

The Glass Box for Monday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:39 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2007


THIS is where to talk about the content of tonight's PM. If there's other stuff on your mind - this is not the place.

For serious topics try The Furrowed Brow. For fun and frolics there's The Beach.

And for a good night out at reasonable prices - have you tried your local theatre?

The future of news and current affairs on BBC Radio 4.

Eddie Mair | 15:14 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2007


In the Furrowed Brow, Piper posted this:

"John Humphrys in a well argued article paints a damning picture of flag-ship News and Information programmes such as "Today" being neutered at best, possibly becomming extinct, as a result of forthcoming BBC funding cuts
Can you, or one of your colleagues let us know how "PM" presently sees its' future..?"

I have asked a senior editorial figure to respond....

Oh and

Eddie Mair | 12:17 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2007


Gillian says " I had the pleasure and privilege of watching Annasee playing her harp at Darley Park, Derby, on Sunday evening. Personally, I didn't think the orchestra was THAT bad!!"


Meanwhile the delightful Corrie Corfield sent this. I wondered where it was from but in fact spotted it a few minutes ago between our office and that of CBeebies.


As we move into September

Eddie Mair | 11:54 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2007


more summer postcards arrive - Witchi had spent a marvellous birthday wandering around Yorkshire Sculpture Park...and found Andy Goldsworthy to be "magical". The card description says "Andy Goldsworthy, Stone Room, Yorkshire sandstone quarried by Johnsons Wellfield, Huddersfield. Dry stone construction, carved holes, 2007. Photo: Jonty Wilde.


Mittfh says: "cynics argue this is the best view of Stourport, but I have seen better postcards than this that prove them wrong"..


And Mac sends this, from Chiswick High Road.


The Furrowed Brow

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 05:52 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2007


This is the place for serious talk.

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