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01/08/2015
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It is not often that we remove a programme from the schedule at short notice.

The 'On The Ropes' we had hoped to broadcast this morning in the end did not work. We were mindful of the background and, in particular, the strained domestic circumstances surrounding the break-up of Andy Kershaw's long-term relationship and the legal order, the result of which makes it very difficult for him to have significant access to his children.

We had hoped that we could explore the events leading to his personal and professional crisis and his subsequent efforts to recover while bearing in mind the interests of other parties and providing them with the appropriate degree of privacy. In the end that was not possible. The programme was recorded and edited close to the day of transmission - hence the lateness of the decision.


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  • Comment number 81. Posted by Saturday_Banana

    on 2 May 2009 18:18

    >>>MRSEDDERS wrote: Come on BBC give Andy a break!!! He's given plenty to you in the past isn't it time to give something back.

    What's all this "Give Andy a break" business? The man has a criminal record of a fairly unpleasant nature, the details of which are easily Googled, and his recent column (some might say "rant") in The Independent clearly shows he is totally unrepentant, still whinging about "injustices and humiliations".

    From his own account, he clearly used "On The Ropes" as an "audio CV" in an attempt to wheedle his way back into the BBC - in the programme it appears that he told us at great length how wonderful he is, judging by extracts such as "rediscovery of my energy, enthusiasm, ambition, optimism, efficiency, curiosity and sense of humour", "I feel positive, red-energised and optimistic", "incredible support from ... my beloved Isle of Man", etc., ending with "The old Andy is back. I'm ready to rock and roll." - and this dubious self-aggrandisement is, I suspect, one of the many good reasons that it was cancelled. I am sure listeners who are aware of his history, let alone those who were directly affected by his acts, would have found it quite unpleasant to listen to all that.

    But after what he's done he deserves nothing further from the BBC. I can't imagine any prestigious organisation (or even the BBC :-) ) would want to employ someone with a criminal record as long as his.

    I am also quite surprised to note there is still a page about him on the Radio 3 website. Surely it's time that were taken down?

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  • Comment number 80. Posted by Robin Kelly

    on 2 May 2009 18:01

    For balance, and I know how the BBC loves balance, this is Andy Kershaw's version of events

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/kershaw-how-the-bbc-left-me-on-the-ropes-1677104.html

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  • Comment number 79. Posted by MRSEDDERS

    on 2 May 2009 09:24

    I can't believe what you done Mark, how limp wristed of the BBC at the very least if your going to cite reasons for pulling a show like this at the last minute the participants deserve proper explanation, unless of course there isn't any. Sure if the show had been cleared by the lawyers then there's nothing wrong with it? Come on BBC give Andy a break!!! He's given plenty to you in the past isn't it time to give something back.

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  • Comment number 78. Posted by James Carroll

    on 1 May 2009 17:54

    I was surprised to hear that the BBC would be broadcasting Andys family traumas, I suspect it way well have done his relations more harm than good, however, I was very keen to hear his voice on the radio again and am disappointed to find the show has been pulled.

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  • Comment number 77. Posted by avon-gorge

    on 1 May 2009 16:30

    The primary issues raised this week are about the BBC's handling of this episode; I wonder whether the BBC are reflecting on whether just quietly broadcasting the interview would have done as much damage as this week of increasingly vitriolic (and in places ill-informed) discussion?

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  • Comment number 76. Posted by gary

    on 1 May 2009 12:44

    I don't wish to comment on Andy's personal life, few of us are in any position to do so with any degree of authority, but with regards to his professional career behind the microphone, there is a great deal of public support over at http://johnpeel.net

    http://johnpeeldotnet.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/pledge-your-support-for-andy-kershaw/

    Doubtless the stability provided by a regularly scheduled programme will allow all those involved to get on with their lives in private, and the sooner the better.

    World music has a huge and dedicated audience that clearly recognise Andy Kershaw as a trustworthy and reliable source of content.

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  • Comment number 75. Posted by goodhelenstar

    on 1 May 2009 12:24

    It seems to me, having read comments on this blog and elsewhere, that there are two separate issues. The first is the making of the programme in the first place and its timing. Andy Kershaw is a public figure, whose private life has therefore to some extent become public property. This is certainly a result of the interest shown by the media in making his misfortunes public, but it is also by his own hand. By recording the interview he clearly intended to draw attention to himself and in lengthy interviews for the Times, before the programme was scheduled to be broadcast, and the Independent after it was pulled, he has reinforced the impression that he actively wishes his private life to become public. In so doing he has compromised the privacy of his children. It seems odd that sufficient time was not allowed between the recording of the interview and its scheduled broadcast for all interested parties to be consulted. We cannot know what went on behind the scenes, but it seems likely that Ms Banner learned about the broadcast as a result of the extensive trailing last weekend and not by being consulted beforehand. The very difficult situation in this family is apparently not yet resolved, so it is unfortunate that the BBC considered it appropriate to broadcast what could only ever be a one-sided opinion that was very likely to do damage.

    The second issue is the BBCs response and continued practice of sloppy editorial standards. Im sorry to say this because I am a supporter of the BBC. I have lived overseas and would rather have our broadcasting service that of any other country I have lived in, but it is such a pity that it gets it so wrong from time to time. Comment has been made earlier in this blog about other celebrities who have been treated differently after falling from grace. In my view there is a difference between a juvenile prank that attracted so much publicity because it occurred in the aftermath of earlier revelations about the BBC being less than squeaky clean, and thus reflected the mood of the moment, and an ongoing and very painful family matter that involves other people including children and should not be in the public eye at all. What is similar however is the BBCs response which was too late and inappropriate, apparently led by fear of reprisal rather than getting it right in the first place. Having decided not to broadcast, it is difficult to imagine what else Mark Damazar could have said on Tuesday morning that would have been any better received; but the situation should not have occurred. Andy Kershaw is in the middle of his crisis and his lack of judgement is perhaps not surprising, but the BBC should know better.

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  • Comment number 74. Posted by smollett

    on 1 May 2009 10:09

    Some cracking posts here and I echo #70 though I hope the Beeb can broadcast this programme soon. Mr Damazar, an answer please.

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  • Comment number 73. Posted by 2nd_of_JECLE

    on 1 May 2009 10:04

    To: Mr Mark Damazer
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    From reading the majority of the posts above (and much media coverage this week) it seems your explanation for cancelling the programme is inadequate; both to the public and to Andy Kershaw (ref: "The Independent" article today).

    What is worse is your reluctance to offer any further clarification. Perhaps you have decided that further explanation is not required but this is clearly not the feeling of the majority of contributors above and certainly not the feeling of Andy Kershaw.

    We have experienced this type of behaviour many times before. This feeling that, as 'the king' of radio 4, you always know best and do not have to explain your reasoning.

    However, may I remind you that you are a "Public Servant" and therefore are answerable to your listeners. Radio 4 is not your own private radio channel to do whatever you please with. It is owned by the license fee & Tax payers and you should answer to them.

    I, like many others, was looking forward to hearing this edition of On the Ropes. Please can you provide a better explanation why we should not be permitted to hear it.

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  • Comment number 72. Posted by Cowardlybeeb

    on 1 May 2009 09:10

    I work in this industry so find the bare faced cheek of Mark Damazer incredibly galling.

    Firstly I think his reasons for cancelling the show are due to cowardice, a fear of legal action, however this could have been avoided by affording a right of reply to the 'other parties' as happens on other programmes. Not making a programme because someone might get upset didn’t stop the BBC reporting the viewing habits of Jacqui Smith’s husband, where were their thoughts for their children on that occasion?

    Secondly if we accept his statement at face value this is a damning public comment from the Controller of BBC4. He has effectively said that his highly paid and publicly funded management team are so incompetent that they can't schedule a pre-recorded interview with sufficient time to allow for post production; or he is saying that interviewer John Humphries, his producer and editor are so talentless that they are unable to make a show with an interviewee who has over 25 years of broadcasting experience. If true then either of these should result in disciplinary action for those involved, what are they being paid for? And if they can't manage it why haven’t they been fired?

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