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12/12/2017
BBC Radio 4

    Overkill? Roger Bolton on Radio 4's election coverage

    Editor's note. This week's item from Radio 4's Feedback programme concerns the network's extensive coverage of the post-election drama in Westminster, 'busting' the schedule and coverage of the Liberal Democrats. Did Radio 4 get it right? Tell us what you think in a comment below - SB

    "Deceitful weasels", "double crossing two faced shysters who would sell their mothers for political gain", "untrustworthy and treacherous."

    That is how some gentlemen of the press described the Liberal Democrats for their negotiating tactics before they formed a coalition with the Conservatives. When David Cameron and Nick Clegg gave a press conference together in the garden of No 10 Downing St they were described as being like Morecambe and Wise.

    You would not of course expect BBC journalists to give vent to such feelings but it had been a long night, or rather a succession of long nights.

    I hope BBC News doesn't have to make overtime payments any more because instead of being tucked up in bed for the weekend, after the usual exhausting election night and the frenetic campaign which preceded it, the Beeb's journalists were still out on the streets of Westminster six days later, as cabinet posts were finally being allocated.

    So it was thrilling but exhausting for them, how was it for Feedback listeners? Did they enjoy it as much as the reporters?

    (Having worked on BBC election coverage in the distant past I was just plain jealous of those involved in the action. There is something thrilling about being with politicians who don't know if they will have a job tomorrow and have no more idea of what the result of the election will be than anyone else. Time stands still, personal fortunes change by the second. History is made in front of you).

    Even the most poker-faced parliamentary candidate finds it difficult to disguise their emotions. Now they know their fate and everyone has had some sleep, we brought together a panel of listeners to discuss their views with the deputy Head of BBC News, Steve Mitchell, who is also Head of News Programmes.

    In the Broadcasting House studio with Mr Mitchell were David Lloyd and Emma Blamey. Samera Haynes Khan was in a BBC Manchester studio and Brenda Steele was on the phone from the Black Isle, just above Inverness.

    David Lloyd began our discussion with a comment about the leaders' debates:

    Feedback is now off the air until July but please keep in touch. We read everything you write and we are keen to come back all guns blazing.

    Roger Bolton presents Feedback on BBC Radio 4

    • Listen again, get in touch with the programme, find out how to join Feedback's listener panel or subscribe to the podcast on the Feedback web page.
    • The picture, from the BBC's picture library, shows Harold Wilson leaving Downing Street with wife Mary during another dramatic period in Westminster, in 1974.
    • Radio 4 head of Scheduling Tony Pilgrim wrote about the network's extensive election schedule changes on the blog yesterday.
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