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When saying sorry works?

Rod McKenzie Rod McKenzie | 11:34 UK time, Thursday, 25 January 2007

Our coverage of the Jade versus Shilpa bust-up triggered an all-time record for listener interaction on Radio 1 and 1Xtra. The audience joining the debate online and on the texts, reflecting the row that raged across the nation. What interested us most were the shifts in opinion as the story went on. Overall on Radio 1, our listeners seemed to feel that Jade's outburst against the Bollywood actress was a clear case of bullying - not racism. Feelings ran high: "What a load of crap, if she was white and getting the same treatment it would just be girls being bitchy and I'm Indian" was one widely supported view.

Radio One logoOn Thursday we ran two votes on Radio 1: one on our online site and one on the texts - the results in this self-selecting poll were startlingly clear. More than six thousand texters thought Jade's actions were NOT racist - there was a slightly lower figure online: 65% out of two thousand agreed that it wasn't about racism. By contrast a similar poll on our sister station 1Xtra - which champions new black music - saw 65% of listeners rating the outburst as racist.

As the story changed, so did our listeners’ widespread condemnation of Jade Goody's actions.

First came Shilpa's statement in the diary room that she didn't think her treatment was triggered by racism. Then as the row blew up around Channel 4 executives, Jade tearfully confessed to the News of the World that she'd been wrong and had made racist remarks - although she denied she was a racist.

With Max Clifford and others wondering if she'd damaged her career as her perfume was withdrawn from sale in at least one chain, something else was happening among our listeners on Radio 1 - a massive outbreak of sympathy.
By Monday we were tracking a huge response that seemed to suggest that however hard it is to say sorry - the public appreciate people who have the courage to do so: “I'm so sick of everyone blaming Jade and Jade shouldn't have to take this rubbish - leave her alone.


  • 1.
  • At 12:33 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • PeeVeeAh wrote:

"Why, oh why?....." you monotonously regurgitate the same bilious, nonsense topic - with 'new' threads everyday? (rhetorical)

Is there really nothing of breaking editorial demerit that will displace this stinking pile' ?

You refer to this non-issue in terms of "Jade vs. Shilpa"! I thought they'd publicly made-up! You're not trying to fan the dying tabloid embers, perchance?.....

Please, please, PLEEZ! - give it a rest! There's nothing to be learned except the obvious need for application of personal restraint: In the first instance - the programme makers; in the second - the contenders(!); the affronted viewers; and then the 'retentive reviewers, ad nauseum! 'Get a life!' - and not one based on the gladiatorial exhibition of people whose only apparent selection criterion is that they were 'up-for-it'!

  • 2.
  • At 03:42 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • ND wrote:

What's your point? You wish you worked for Channel Four? You seem quite into that. Or you're just reviewing your figures. Why make it an editor's blog?

  • 3.
  • At 01:07 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Ruth wrote:

Nice short statistical review!

Are you related to Kelvin?

  • 4.
  • At 09:24 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

The question was asked:-

'does this reflect british society?'

In the way most would imagine no not at all. But in a more subtle way yes.

The fact someone like jade goody who has no talent at anything isn't good looking and is incredibly stupid can become a millionaire celebrity says a lot about the level of intelligence of the general UK population.

Its pretty damning are people really so stupid that they idolise and reward people like jade?

Congratulations Rod - this is the worse post to ever appear on 'The Editors' - I have no idea what it has to do with discussing the issues and dilemmas of the BBC editorial staff.

The fact that the BBC have fallen for the lowest-common-denominator new story and keep harping on about it only further diminishes the case for public funding – the commercial networks can trot out this drivel with ease.

  • 6.
  • At 02:59 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

Just one quick point on the substance of the debate (not whether or not should be debating it) and its interpretation:

The fact that some people, who happen to fairly young, consider the comments of Jade Goody as racism, does not demonstrate anything other than (possibly) a lack of awareness or experience of those issues amongst that age group. This perhaps highlights the need for awareness-raising of what does constitute it. This is also a point, I think, that in mentioning such figures should be raised.

  • 7.
  • At 08:01 AM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • akku chowdhury wrote:

When will this STOP? The show itself was abusive and disrespectful. The participants were all adults and consented to such abuse. If one can't take the heat should have known before and stayed out of such situations.

  • 8.
  • At 09:35 PM on 31 Jan 2007,
  • Philippa, UK wrote:

I'm lost - why is this being discussed on this blog ?

And of course views will change as the story evolves, what a bizarrely obvious revelation ???

And I suspect you will find that Jade's recent PR offensive (in every meaning of the word) has now back-fired as it has been recognised as such, rather than a genuine mea culpa.

Tsk, tsk, tsk - 2/10, please try harder to think of something with a bit more insight.

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