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Glass Box for Tuesday

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Sequin | 17:24 UK time, Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A mixed bag this evening. What did you think?

What are your memories of Dr Anthony Clare?

Here's a longer version of the piece which ran on today's PM, looking back at the best exchanges with guests while they were "In the Psychiatrist's Chair"


  1. At 05:35 PM on 30 Oct 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Still not a fan of having THAT inquest featuring so much. I would've moved the proposed Iraqi bill re contractors higher up the running order myself. I did like the piece about the European wine industry. I've got to admit that I buy wines from both the EU and new world. I buy based on taste. As for EU wines being cheaper, that's not really true, given that the current vintners (sp?) get a subsidy, paid for indirectly from our (and other countries) taxes. Better for the subsidy to be removed, and let the market dictate the way things pan out....

  2. At 06:11 PM on 30 Oct 2007, David Traynier wrote:

    I didn't hear tonight's show. Did they cover the fact that the US has now given Blackwater employees immunity from prosecution?

  3. At 06:43 PM on 30 Oct 2007, Markham wrote:

    Fearless - Agree entirely about that inquest. A complete waste of public money.
    David - It was mentioned in an aside.

    As for the programme tonight. It was excellent value until 17:45 when we got the "cute animal" story (does Quinn insist on these stories?), an overlong obituary to some Irish trick cyclist I've never heard of followed by the statutory three minutes of weather forecasting (which could be done in thirty seconds).

  4. At 06:59 PM on 30 Oct 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Funny things, weather forecasts. Even if I want to know what the weather's going to be, professional weather forecasters seem to have the knack of turning me off. A few weeks back Eddie read the weather himself, because the pro wasn't available - and I heard every word.


  5. At 10:54 PM on 30 Oct 2007, Deepthought wrote:

    Sid (4),

    I know what you mean about the weather forecasters. Personally I find Peter Gibb OK (he also does GQT), but some of the others - especially the more recent ones - seem to switch me off as well, and I *do* want to hear the forecast *and* have an interest in the weather specifically, (not just whether it's raining or not). They end and I realise I've not registered whether there is a frost tonight or not where I am.

    Fearless (1) and Markham (3). Me too re an inquest.

  6. At 11:24 PM on 30 Oct 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Like Fred and Markham I'm sick to the back teeth with the inquest. I dare say it will be still running in 10 years time.

    The wine was a nice piece though. Although Carolyn should have maybe anticipated the drought in Australia. What a shame all those grapes are being wasted.

    Loved and really appreciated putting the Anthony Clare clips on the blog. I've just played it back to the (SO) who remarked that he thought both Claire Rayner and Bob Monkhouse were 'good actors'.

    I've had dealings with Claire several times in the past (within the media) not that fond of her, I have to say.

    As for Bob - I felt he came over as being very genuine.

  7. At 12:34 AM on 31 Oct 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Markham (3), You'd never before heard of Anthony Clare??? Are you a newcomer to the BBC?

  8. At 06:09 AM on 31 Oct 2007, Edward Wheatley wrote:

    A 10 minute walk around any major town in the UK would have shown that the number of immigrants has far exceeded the Government figures for years.

    Everybody recognised this except the politicians. I know they don’t get out much but it’s hard not to believe that ,aided by their mates in the media ,they have been engaged in a con-trick to deliberately deceive us.

  9. At 08:35 AM on 31 Oct 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I'd like to make a few comments regarding the immigration "problem" that some parts of the media (step forward Daily Mail and Sun), and the Conservative party seem to be obsessing about. Yes, we've had more people come into this country than had previously been thought. But, isn't it really a case that the furore is only really about the fact that a statistic has gone up? After all, it's not as if the extra 300,000 people have suddenly arrived overnight. These people have been here for some time. So it's more about the impression that there's more "Johnny Foreigners invading this Sceptr'd Isle" than wwe thought. This feeds very nicely into the anti-European views of some people (step forward Rupert Murdoch).

    A common response is "They're taking our jobs". No. They're doing our jobs. The jbs tat we often can't be a*sed to do ourselves, like the minimum wage jobs on farms, or cleaning staff in hospital (don't we need more of those anyway?), builders, plmbers, doctors, nurses, etc. These are jobs I'm sure people will agree are important, and need to be done. If some of our young are unwilling to do this work, then why not allow people to come here to do this work? I would say this proves more commitment to this country than that exhibited by some of those born here.

  10. At 09:11 AM on 31 Oct 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    I didn't catch the programme last night but am glad I'm not the only one who, not by choice, tunes the weather forecast out (sid @ 4, deepthought @ 5). I don't know what it is, even if I want to hear it the whole thing passes me by. But, when Eddie read it I heard every word. Similarly on the Today programme when the presenters, as opposed to the weather bods, read out the summary.

    Theres probably something psychological at play that maybe worth looking in to (when the funds have recovered....)

  11. At 09:38 AM on 31 Oct 2007, Markham wrote:

    Aperitif(7) - Immediately any medical programme (or associated field) signs on I sign off. Past experience of these type of programmes shows me that for every "expert" who proposes one route out of a problem another "expert" disagrees. Just too confusing. Any problem like that I'll go to my GP and get his advice on what course to follow. I regard most of the pundits on those programmes as being the middle class Radio4 equivalent of Oprah or Jeremy Kyle.

  12. At 11:24 AM on 31 Oct 2007, Roger Sawyer wrote:

    Morning All,

    Many thanks for all your comments. It was a better day yesterday... some stories to get our teeth into.

    In no particular order:

    Yes we did cover Blackwater, not just as an aside. The angle we covered was not the granting of immunity in the USA, but the Iraqi Government's proposal to remove immunity from foreign companies operating in Iraq. We led on that at 5.30pm. I placed it there, because we always try to have a strong story to kick off the second half.

    I am somewhat baffled by the response to the Princess Diana inquest... is it a Pavlovian response simply because it's a Royal/Diana story?

    I would understand it if we'd broadcast a lot of coverage. The inquest has been going on for a while and, in fact, we've covered very little. My reasons for covering it on Monday and yesterday were that we gained some really interesting insight about the behaviour of the paparazzi at the scene. We haven't heard from one of those who was there before.

    Markham (3) on the "cute animal" story. As I explained before when you've objected to "cuddly animal" stories, the decision has nothing to do with 'Quinn' (though I know her as Carolyn). The editor decides what goes in the programme. Me. So it would have been there whether Carolyn, Eddie or the Duke of Clarence was presenting. And I thought you'd acknowledged that there were in fact sound editorial reasons for covering the badger, monkey and cat stories we did.

    Same goes for yesterday... there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of pet owners in this country and the lengths and cost that some will go to to treat their pets is an interesting cultural reference point. Especially when some animals have access to medical treatment that many humans are denied. An interesting ethical and philosophical debate, I thought.

    And no apologies re Professor Clare - his interviews provided fascinating insight into public figures and cultural icons.

    For the record, the weather forecast is 90 seconds, not three minutes.



  13. At 11:28 AM on 31 Oct 2007, toni bates wrote:

    Id like to strongly say that from the young person survey last night, suggested that they will have to pay for all over 55's ,will not occur in my case.If you are over 55 with a final salary pension ..ergo..a cival servant then all young people will have to support these people,becasue they do not pay in the real amount like I do of 20% of my salary to a money purchase pension..all cival servants..oops even all bbc staff et all on final salary pensions ,and can retire unrealistically at 55 and over are sucking the life out of all the young people.
    All final salary pensions should stop and these poeple like me work till you drop and submit a lot more to their pensions, to help our younger folk.

  14. At 12:06 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Markham (11), Bit of a crossed wire there -- I was just trying to point out that Prof Clare was all over the BBC (and beyond, in fact, regular section in the Radio Times springs to mind) -- he was most well known as an interviewer I believe, and a well respected one, although he was of course, a professional psychiatrist too. Even if you never listen to "medical programmes" on R4 I just find it very surprising that you claim never to have heard of him until his death -- or were you perhaps using hyperbole for effect?

    Mind you, I'd never heard of Elvis until the day he died. I was, however, a mere toddler at the time...

  15. At 12:24 PM on 31 Oct 2007, tom wrote:

    (12) When is the Duke of Clarence presenting?

    I can't understand why you are baffled by the comments on the Diana inquest. It's been news for 10 years and most people are sick of it.

    ps when are you moving north to Manchester?

  16. At 12:30 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Markham wrote:

    Roger(13) - Must have missed your previous reply - Something to do with the 502 problems maybe?

    If you are the "cuddly" animal freak please desist. They should be left for the regional radio and TV programmes where they belong.

    As for the weather forecast I think you will find there is a groundswell off listener and viewer opinion that it's time to reduce it to 30 seconds. Perhaps it's something to do with the awful graphics on the TV?

    I said in a previous message that I'd not heard of the man who had died and listening to the navel gazing examples you broadcast I can understand why I hadn't. As I said upmarket Oprah for Radio4.

  17. At 01:26 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    FFred (9);
    Hear, hear. The work done by immigrants from the 'New European' countries is often menial, low-paid and a drudge. They do a good job of it too, so I'm led to believe.

    Best Mate owns a guesthouse in Brighton. During the week he often has commercial guests in to stay. Last year for the best part of 9 months he was host to 21 Polish builders, working on the reconstruction of the Royal Sussex hospital. The overseers had nothing but good to say about them, same with BM.

    They were at work on time and sober. They were well presented, worked efficiently and the quality of the work was first-class. They were never any trouble at the B&B, no hookers, no drunkenness, no swamped mattresses, no soiled carpets, you can imagine the kind of thing...

    I don't have to spell it out, but the conduct of British builders he has hosted in the past has often been a complete reversal to his experience with the Poles.

    Some of them had degrees, one was funding a Masters. One was a vet, another a teacher, still another a computer programmer. They were doing the building work because it paid between four and ten times what they were paid in Poland. Their lodgings were paid for, so they had, by their standards, an amazing send-home income. Despite that, they were still considerably cheaper than hiring British workmen.

    So the work was done cheaper for the NHS, the building company no doubt made a healthy profit, the tasks were completed on-time and on-budget and the workers were happy. That's a rare story in Britain today.

    They also seem to be taking over in the catering industry too. Every waiter/waitress, fast food server, etc. I meet seems to have an East Europe accent.

    Our own generations are being brought up to believe that if they stretch out their hands they can have fame, fortune and all that goes with it. Auditions for the X-factor and the like are filled with tens of thousands of young people who want to be famous and make their fortune. No-one wants to put in the hard work any more, because no-one tells them that they have to.

    Consequently, if we restrict the New Europeans from coming here then the Brits won't take over. The work will not get done and Britain will suffer as a result. It breeds resentment, but that's largely because our young people don't get the fame, wealth and whatever they've been told to expect. Who do they take it out on? Those who are working assiduously to make their own wealth by hard work, often 'outsiders' like the European immigrants.

    If you'd monitored the Blog over the last few months you'd have noticed that there is a real antipathy to the whole Diana inquest saga. For those who bother to comment, there is zero interest at all. I cannot recall one single comment congratulating you for covering it. Mind you, that's probably because Mohammed Fayed doesn't read the Blog.

    I'll add my voice to the others. Please don't bother with the inquest, it's a non-event. The enquiry which reported on the those events and the causes of the crash told the entire tale. Those few details which have/will come to light will only be for titillation, like the paparazzi scum trying to sell the pictures to the Sun whilst stood beside the smouldering wreckage. Nothing of any real substance will be revealed now.

    Many inquests are held each year for people who die horrific deaths, they don't get the coverage which this story has had. The only thing which makes it even remotely newsworthy is that fact that it was Diana. If she hadn't been in the car, if Dodi had died alone, you wouldn't be covering it.

    Drop it, please.


  18. At 01:28 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Tuppence wrote:

    If Anthony Clare hadn't died so young, or perhaps if someone would like to pick up his mantle perhaps a study could be done on why we all suffer from the problem of habitually missing the thing we really want to hear - like the weather forecast.

    When it starts I make a conscious effort to listen, and when it is over I realise that once again the only weather I have any idea about is that in N Ireland and Scotland - which is not much use for a Somerset dweller. Pleased to know that at least I am not the only one.


  19. At 01:29 PM on 31 Oct 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Roger:

    and 'the inquest'.

    It's like hitting us with Paris Hilton in prison - or not - story

    I think there is little interest unless the Radio 4 listeners are turning very tabloid!

  20. At 01:47 PM on 31 Oct 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Tom and Roger Sawer.

    There is a digitalspy thread here:


    listing what people are fed up with hearing about.

    One amusing person posted the following there:

    Maddie - Its old now.
    Diana - She died in a car crash. Just let her rest in peace.
    Paris Hilton - Some Z list celebrity who GMTV cut to from an important news story to show her coming out of prison.
    Pete Whatshisface - He loves his drugs.

    Carbon footprint.

  21. At 01:54 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Rachel G wrote:


    Thanks for your comments. Your observation that some of us have developed a Pavlovian response to the inquest story might suggest to you that you are giving it too much coverage. Such a response is only generated, I believe, through constant repetition of the trigger.

    I disagree that your pieces on the inquest this week provided anything new or interesting about the paparazzi. As far as I could tell, much of last night's stuff related second, third or even fourth hand hearsay that doesn't deserve much place in PM let alone a court of law.

  22. At 02:31 PM on 31 Oct 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re:- Simon Worrall :

    Simon what an excellent eloquent post.

    You are spot on about the Polish and I have to say we have had similar experiences to your friend with the British builders.

    We are turning very much into a celebrity culture fuelled by the media and programmes like x-factor, big brother, etc...

    We are also graced by a less than ideal tabloid press, as anyone who heard the outpouring from Heather Mills this morning on GMTV will realise I hope.

    As regards to the 'Inquest' I'm sure that Roger will have taken our comments on board and we can expect a Diana free PM programme tonight. I noted that Five Live seems to be devoting hours to it! -

    Is one BBC Radio network not enough for that story?

  23. At 03:16 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Deepthought wrote:

    FFred (9) and Simon (17),

    Agreed wholeheartedly.

    Just had an Albanian working with an English boss do the exterior building work. All the English guys the boss hired for the job (he had wanted to complete sooner than the estimate for personal reasons) he let go as being useless, not turning up etc. Started with 6, finished by those two but on time. I was impressed by both their work. Similarly with the scaffolding company, which had actually impressed the English boss with their efficiency (and impressed me as well).

  24. At 03:22 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Deepthought wrote:

    Markham (16),

    No, I don't want a 30 second weather forecast. I want a weather forecast presented by someone that doesn't dull the brain within the first few seconds resulting in my missing what I actually wanted to hear/learn. If it were to take 3 minutes, that would be fine with me. I don't have an answer as to how to make it " listenable" , although I missed EM reading it one day, so perhaps that's a solution.

  25. At 03:35 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Si, Jonnie, Nice to see that I'm not on my own on this topic. I get very frustrated when certain parts of "da meeja" stir up a fuss about something that actually has benefited this country immensley. When I hear people like Richard Littlejohn, etc, spouting off about how these hard-working people are "spongers" putting "British people out of jobs", it amazes and disgusts me. These are people willing to do jobs that a lot of us would turn down, for a minimum wage, just as a way of bettering their lives, and the lives of their families. Isn't that what our system is about?

  26. At 04:02 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Roger Sawyer wrote:

    A rare second posting from me.

    On the Diana inquest and Pavlov's Dog, the point I am making is that there are some people who are affronted as soon as they hear the words Princess Diana Inquest on PM, react on that basis, and do not make judgements based on the merit of what we broadcast. We have not covered the inquest very much at all, but if we make the editorial judgement that there is something fresh or interesting to be said, then I make no apology for putting it on.

    There are other areas that can create the same reaction. Any mention of sport quite often does. Listeners email in high dudgeon that we've dared to mention sport, without taking the time to listen and discover that the piece is as much about politics/business/corruption/human endeavour as it is about sport.

    Other coverage that people get/got fed up with is/was Northern Ireland, Iraq, Middle East, Politics, the Arts.

    We don't just do the Diana inquest because it's there, but because we think it merits a mention. And the outraged response is not I believe because *we* have overdone it, but because it is overdone elsewhere and because of that some people see it as evidence of a tabloid agenda.

    We don't have a tabloid agenda, but the fact is that we and the tabloids are not mutually exclusive and there are times when we cross over. Yesterday's evidence was not second or third hand, it was cross examination of an unexpected witness - and very revealing. And it was three minutes out of an hour.

    There are some stories and issues I am personally not interested in - most of the Diana inquest for example - but I put them on the programme either because I realise that - despite my own feelings about them - they are significant or because listeners are interested in them.

    And Simon (17) and Jonnie (19), I am afraid we are not going to base editorial decisions on what people say on this blog. Three-and-a-half million people listen to PM, how many comment on the Blog? There is no evidence that the Blog is representative of all our listeners and to adapt our agenda because of a vocal and articulate micro minority would be a small tail wagging a big dog.

    Having said that, I don't think there is any Diana on today. But the animal kingdom is represented by Hen Harriers.

    See y'all


  27. At 04:56 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Val P wrote:

    Tuppence and Witchi - I've also observed the same problem with the weather forecast, and presumed that it was because I was trying to tune out the various regions that don't apply, but then I don't have a cue to tune back in again when they reach Scotland, so invariably miss my own bit too. Attempts to counter that by concentrating hard on the whole item, have so far been led astray by the distraction of trying to decide where exactly one region ends and another begins, and which of my friends may be about to suffer from non-weather since they live forever in the crossovers. I usually give up and phone my brother for his interpretation.

  28. At 05:17 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    And don't forget Chicken Little!

  29. At 05:43 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Val and fellow easy subjects,

    I think we may all be subject to some sort of suggestive hypnosis on this matter. It's been years since I managed to actually hear the appropriate (my locality) part of any weather forecast, except I do seem to have an implant which alerts me when my part of the shipping forecast comes round....and the appropriate coastal stations....Machrahannish...Mull of Galloway, Irish Sea....etc.

    On another sideways take, does anyone find it an absurd waste of broadcast time to devote a portion of the allotted time to telling us what the weather has already BEEN? Surely that doesn't qualify as NEWS!

    Maybe it's a sign of our decadent culture - we're indoors so much we need to be told what it's like outdoors. Just for an exercise, try guessing just how many of your last 10,000 footsteps actually landed on anything except a surface specially prepared to keep your feet from touching the Earth.


  30. At 08:43 PM on 31 Oct 2007, Deepthought wrote:

    Ed (29),

    Ditto for me on the Shipping Forecast, when I want to know a certain region's weather. Perhaps the main problem is that they don't do the land forecast in a strict order, but start where the weather is likely to be most "exciting" in the following 24 hours - unless it's a hurricane, of course.

    Though sometimes those snippets of the past day's weather have some interest, such as raising the question as to why Birmingham has such a high rate of unexpected natural disasters visited upon it (earthquake/tornado/tsunami), apart from that it deserves it (I lived there for years; it does).

  31. At 09:28 AM on 01 Nov 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Val (27), Me too re the weather forecast. In fact that could have been me posting. Except I don't have brother, so I only ever find out the forecast from shop assistants. If more than one tells me, and the stories all match, then and only then will I remember it.

    Roger (26), I can't help feeling a bit disgruntled by your paragraph on not basing editorial decisions on the views expressed on the blog. I wouldn't expect you to do that, however, it seems that, in seeking to address Si and Jonnie on a specific point, you've actually spoken in a way that could leave all of us feeling insulted (I'm talking about the dog's tail part). It seems that PM often asks us to contribute and proffer our opinions on the programme (the very reason for the "Glass Box" threads) but when you don't like what you hear you get a bit cross?

  32. At 11:07 AM on 01 Nov 2007, suzanne wrote:

    i was bemused by the article calling for an organisation to run a national pet blood bank, as there already is one... called, wait for it, the pet blood bank! www.petbloodbankuk.org

    vi, my rescued greyhound, gave blood about 3 weeks ago and i would recommend other dog owners get involved. staff are very friendly and the dogs get lots of fuss and treats afterwards. vi seemed to love having her belly rubbed by four staff while she donated her pint!

    unfortunately the organisation are only collecting blood in the east midlands at present (due to storage issues), but they distribute it to vets nationally.

  33. At 12:11 PM on 01 Nov 2007, Val P wrote:

    DeepT - yes, it's the order isn't it, that's why I don't hear a cue to tune back in again. Perhaps we could offer a contribution to Children in Need if the forecaster had a go at alerting each of us for a while before our respective regions appeared? Like shouting loudly at the end of the one before or pressing a buzzer or something? It needn't be anything that lengthens the whole process of the forecast of course, that would knock the running order out wouldn't it?

  34. At 12:16 PM on 01 Nov 2007, Rachel G wrote:

    Hey ho. PM asks for our opinions and then insults us when we give them :). (I notice Roger seems to have a thing about comparing some of us to dogs, or bits of dogs - worrying)

    Actually, insult is probably a bit strong, but I think Roger is being too grumpy. I'm not asking him to apologise for making editorial decisions I don't like, I'm just disagreeing with him. It's what I do. I'd hate to be in the real GB with him.

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