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Confession time

Harriet Oliver | 15:46 UK time, Wednesday, 20 September 2006

We aim to tap into what the audience is talking about, and with Chris Tarrant's marriage breakdown all over the papers I felt we should cover it on the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Radio Five Live logoThere are always those who accuse us of dumbing down (and several listeners did) but affairs affect lots of us and I was confident people were interested. Not everyone in my production meeting agreed. "Do we really think people will own up to having an affair on the radio?" asked a colleague.

tarrant.jpgThe truth is, I wasn't completely sure, but there's something about the phone-in format and Victoria's style that gets people to open up. Rather than dwell on poor Chris and Ingrid, we asked how someone can possibly live a double life for 10 years.

We needn't have worried about people confessing on air. Perhaps the best caller was a quietly spoken man who told us about his 30-year affair with a married woman. When I asked him off air why he wanted to come on national radio to talk about this he said: "I guess I want to tell someone".


Y'know, although it was "all over the papers", I wonder how many people actually bought one.

Good to see Five Live taking a more interesting slant.

  • 2.
  • At 08:59 PM on 20 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Hudson wrote:

I don't think editors of ANY BBC programme, even on Five Live, should feel compelled to follow a story just because it is 'all over the papers'. There are plenty of places where you can pick up celebrity gossip and, personally, I hope and expect the BBC to find more important, or at least more interesting, things to talk about. Editors should have more confidence in the values of the BBC and follow the crowd a little less.

  • 3.
  • At 09:18 PM on 20 Sep 2006,
  • Lucy wrote:

Hi, I think that people have affairs because theres something lacking in their marriage they obviously find it hard to talk to their partner about whats wrong what they would like and what their partner would like and try to come to an agreement. I think women like a sense of adventure and if they have a very hard lifestyle such as alot of pressure from loved ones and alot of children they have to cope with the stress of that and now adays because mothers are getting younger and younger they've lost a chance at exploring the world and doing things they wanted to do for themselves now they have to consider about two or one more person before they can do anything and i think affairs take them out of there picture it can make them appear in a new world where there center stage. I think men have affairs because the same reason they have tough lives and need a break. I'm not saying its acceptable but i think if your going to marry someone and settle down make sure you know you can talk with your partner to be about anything and everything after all if you are with them for the rest of your life you cant shut them out of pieces of your life. As for Chris and his wife i was very shocked to hear about them getting a divorce but at the end of the day it isn't us to make the judgement its them they need to speak it through and if a divorce fully happens or if they decide to try again its up to them.

Yes, it's most certainly dumbing down. The stuff of OK magazine. And you shouldn't be encouraging people to talk about their private matters on your radio show.

Having said all that, I've never listened to your station, and after this I'm even less likely to.

  • 5.
  • At 12:33 PM on 22 Sep 2006,
  • Flo wrote:

I think it's nonsense for Peter to describe a phone-in about affairs as "the stuff of OK magazine". It's snobbish to dismiss an interesting and thought-provoking talking point simply because, shock horror, it might feature in a red-top tabloid and the great unwashed might be talking about it. I've been listening to 5live for about 18 months and I find it incredible how it manages to find quirky, interesting slants on stories every single day. It takes real guts to suggest a new angle on a story that everyone is talking about (well when I say everyone I obviously just mean we degenerates who might have more than a passing glance at heat magazine and possibly keep up to date on Kate Moss' love life). Peter, try 5 live. If you hate it, you hate it, but you never know, you might love it!

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