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Countdown to Salford

Matt Morris | 12:04 UK time, Friday, 8 June 2007

Let me quote Fran Yeoman, writing in the home news pages of the Times:

    Labour's six deputy leadership candidates went "speed dating" on radio yesterday. Each was given 6 minutes on Radio 5 Live to chat up two listeners: Vicci Goulding, Miss Wigan 2007, and Ged Sweeney, a former Labour Party member who left over tuition fees. Mindful of the forthcoming final of Miss England, Ms Goulding asked Harriet Harman what her special talent would be. "I think my talent would be encouraging people," the nonplussed Justice Minister managed.

Radio Five Live logoThe listeners had been tracked down by our audience editor Lou Birt and the item was brought to air by the team led by Simon Mayo's editor, John Cary. It was engaging, informative, and it challenged the politicians. I rather think they enjoyed it and I am certain that William Hague - who appeared on the Mayo programme just after the speed daters - enjoyed it even more. (Listen here to the programme.)

But in the week or so following the BBC Trust's confirmation that Five Live will be among the services transferring to Salford, a question arose in my mind: is this the sort of item that Five Live simply will not be able to do so well in the future?

Every Wednesday, the Mayo programme decamps to Millbank, to frame Prime Minister's Questions and to talk, face to face, to a panel of MPs. The panel conversation, and the speed-dating type of treatment, tend to work well because Simon can engage his guests with glances, body language and gestures - as well as words.

This is the sort of problem we've now got to grapple with as the countdown to Salford begins in earnest. Five Live will remain the home of continuous news on BBC domestic radio - so we have to ensure that the right systems are in place to guarantee that its news coverage is as authoritative, stylish and engaging as ever.


  • 1.
  • At 03:11 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • Billy Smith wrote:

Isn't the point of the move to Salford to reduce the London-centric output of the BBC overall? 'Things' can and do happen 'up North' you know - maybe you and your team should start brainstorming how to adpat and take advantage of your soon to be new geographical location, and fret a little less about how to remain a London obsessed broadcaster.....

  • 2.
  • At 07:00 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • r.muggeridge wrote:

It's certainly an unpleasant & perjorative term in most instances.
It's certainly used by some, notably younger elements, of the "people of colour", "afro-caribbean", "blacks", "generation black americans" etc.
In Britain it has nothing like the same notoriety, but, is certainly unacceptable in society that seeks to have/give respect & show courtesy.
Then again, a silly little irresponsible girl on an even more silly, irresponsible tv programme uses the 'n-word' & the publicity machine goes into hyper-drive (afterall, I've never seen a Big Brother, but I'm writing about it here!).
What fools we all are: Yes, BBC, that especially means you lot of Politically Correct-Human Rights-Guardian reading pontificating bunch of multi-cultural toadying jobsworths!

  • 3.
  • At 11:57 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • Paul Wright wrote:

Will this move result in a "BBC in shock recognition of life beyond Watford" headline...?

...or a lot of quaint stories about how us Northerners don't all have Whippets and Pigeons?

  • 4.
  • At 01:23 AM on 25 Aug 2007,
  • Les, Bury, Lancashire wrote:

Why move from one city to another. Why not move into the country or at least outside the M60 so you can avoid the toll charges.
I can never understand why businesses stay in crowded cities.
I could never live with seeing concrete everywhere each morning. It's nice to look out over the fields & see wildlife rather than look over the buildings & see another type of wildlife.
Bring jobs to the people and lets start being green.

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