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On the Ropes - Andy Kershaw

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Mark Damazer Mark Damazer 09:00, Tuesday, 28 April 2009

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.


  • Comment number 1.

    I take it that the broadcast did not work for technical reasons after very recent editing. Thank you for your prompt reply. There has been a lot of interest shown here (see messageboards) and I am sure many people will look forward to hearing the final edited version soon.

  • Comment number 2.

    Not recorded/edited so close to transmission that you were unable to trail it extensively. And right up to the start of the replacement programme, the Radio 4 website and 'Listen Live' listed it. It dies rather look as if a) someone from outside intervened or (b) you noticed only very late what it was you were planning to transmit. Neither breeds confidence or trust.

    It's ironic (and disappointing) that, one of the rare times you have a truly interesting subject, your (or someone's) sensitivities prevent you from broadcasting it.

  • Comment number 3.

    Thanks for the explanation, but it would have been nice had some sort of explanation been given on air for the pulling of the programme - or did my ears decisive me?

  • Comment number 4.

    Someone else on the messageboards crystallised what was bugging me - I hear what you are saying about the reasons for pulling the programme, and I'm not asking for any more detail on that, but in common with many other people posting messages the frustration is that BBC doesn't take responsibility for having invited listeners to tune in (and I'm an occasional listener who specifically organised to listen to this) and then taking no trouble at all to offer any explanation or apology - 'and now in a change to the advertised programme . . .' This is frustrating and unprofessional.

  • Comment number 5.

    BBC screws Andy Kershaw again?

  • Comment number 6.

    I totally agree with nicenick101. This programme was still being trailed during the last 24 hours; I find it difficult to believe the Controller's excuse of difficult late editing. Someone pulled the plug. Why? or does Salman Rushdie need even more publicity?

  • Comment number 7.

    One imagines that the broadcast was pulled because of an injunction by one or more of those possibly affected - and those persons may even have objected to that reason (or even just 'legal reasons') being given for the removal. The law is most annoying at times but we are stuck with it. I remember being surprised, when I first saw the schedule, that it was included - I am not wholly surprised that it has been removed with no reason given.

  • Comment number 8.

    It's very sad, the way the BBC is treating Andy Kershaw. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his current situation, he has brought you a lot of listeners in the past and he deserves a bit of help and support at a difficult time to get his career back on track and give him something else to focus on. Surely some way could have been found to allow him to have his say without compromising any legal position?

    I can only compare and contrast the way he has been discarded with the BBC's perpetual indulgence of the likes of Jonathan Ross, Chris Moyles et al, whose broadcasting talents are minimal compared to Kershaw's.

  • Comment number 9.

    I certainly agree with terencegibson about the lack of explanation or apology. Only I can't help but wonder if the pull might have been connected with the attention the broadcast might have drawn to the BBC's treatment of Kershaw, as compared with their handling of the Ross debacle.
    Having met Kershaw on a couple of occasions I personally found him slightly arrogant and unapproachable (I wouldn't have wanted to cross him meself.........) I also remember hearing him argue vehemently against the very existence of "Women's Hour during a debate broadcast a couple of years ago in terms that to me indicated a puzzling lack of insight into social history. Incidentally I also find his professional Northerner stance grating..............
    BUT, and it's a mighty "BUT", he has made a huge contribution to music broadcasting in this country and his work as a foreign correspondent was a vital and refreshing break from the established BBC take on "abroad". Let me see, how does that compare with Jonathan Ross? Ross appears to have no talent, seems chiefly to gurn and leer at his guests, mugs patronisingly for the audience, gets paid a fortune and stays on the payroll after being guilty of an astonishing lapse of taste and human decency. Hmm............
    I know who I'd rather hear on the radio.

  • Comment number 10.

    I really hope that Andy Kershaw returns to the BBC before long. He is a fine broadcaster. I can see the difficulties with today's On the Ropes, but it is unfortunate that he has been treated in a different way from others who have transgressed and have been returned to the fold without problem.

  • Comment number 11.

    Why was the programme made so close to transmission? If there were legal issues waiting to be resolved why not push it back in the schedule? Why was John Humphrys on 5 Live yesterday plugging the show hard if there was a chance that it would be pulled? Looks like senior management intervened at the last second having lost their bottle. Either that or a legal injunction - in which case why not tell the audience? Given the well reported situation with Mr Kershaw and his ex-partner and children this was never a good idea for a BBC show - perhaps Andy's agent should give Jeremy Kyle a call.

  • Comment number 12.

    I too was looking forward to hearing this programme. Having been through the same sort of bad bad times as AK. I found I had to get used to the opinions people, even close friends and family, had formed during my absence...... absent from reality as well as physically....sorry if that's obscure, but AK & people who have been through this will relate. I'm just pleased I got through it, and now accept every day for what it is. I hope it will be re sceduled soon. Good luck to AK, a DJ I put in the John Peel bracket.

  • Comment number 13.

    re the comment made @ #5

    I think you actually need to switch that comment around, as someone else said (and I have to agree) - "I remember being surprised, when I first saw the schedule, that it was included" - the BBC should have known better...

  • Comment number 14.

    I assume he is an individual desperate to bare his soul and make reparation.. perhaps the programme revealed his raw state too vividly and might have made the BBC vulnerable to accusations of both voyeurism and taking advantage of Kershaw's confessional urges. Perhaps Andy himself decided that his revelations were just too personal.... I'm sure the story will come out in the end

  • Comment number 15.

    My gripe lies with the BBC's last minute pulling of the broadcast without explanation. The words "the next program replaces.." are still resounding in my frustrated ears. When trails include snippets of dialogue from a program it implies that it has been recorded and presumably edited/vetted and cleared for broadcast - otherwise why advertise it? My only hope is that the BBC producers have treated Mr Kershaw with a good deal more respect than it has treated its listeners on this occassion.

  • Comment number 16.

    Whatever the reason for it being pulled, it would surely only be courteous to give an explanation on air. And if it was pulled due to an injunction, shouldn't you have foreseen that? And why not just say so on air? Very annoying.

  • Comment number 17.

    Will the programme be re-edited to make it suitable for broadcast? Of course privacy issues in family break uo are more important than what we hear on the radio 4, but not only is Andy a treasured broadcaster, but his experiences will be relevant to many listeners, and it would be good to hear his story at some point.

  • Comment number 18.

    Yes I'm disappointed that this weeks 'On The Ropes' was cancelled. However the more important issue is for the BBC to reinstate Andy ASAP. When one thinks of professional, passionate, knowledgeable DJs - John Peel, Bob Harris, Charlie Gillet and Andy Kershaw certainly come to my mind. There are far too many BBC DJs that prefer the sound of their own voices, who often forget to mention who sang on the last record that they played ('Steve Wrong In The Afternoon' springs immediately to mind). Please BBC, don't let Andy Kershaw slip through your fingers, raise your standard of broadcasters.

  • Comment number 19.

    A shame this had to be pulled - a bit of an explanation would have been useful.

  • Comment number 20.

    Dear Mr Damazer,

    Whilst your comments are appreciated, the station scores another 'own goal' by it's lack of courtesy at the time of broadcast. If the show has been pulled for legal reasons, why on earth did'nt the announcer apologise and say so? Frankly, this increased complacency when dealing with the listener is a sad feature of your stewardship of OUR station.

  • Comment number 21.

    Like many other people, I arranged specially to tune in to this programme, having heard its trails.

    I was very disappointed to hear that it had been pulled - but again, like many others, I was even more disappointed by the way it was announced at 9.02 this morning, "In a change to our scheduled programme..."; nothing by way of explanation or apology.

    That was unprofessional, I thought, and disrespectful of your listeners.

    This programme must have been the most heavily-trailed show on R4 this week. Presumably someone guessed that it was going to be popular. No doubt (OK - let's assume that) there were good reasons for pulling the programme at the last minute. But I can't think of any good reason not to offer a reason (even if it had to be vague - 'for legal reasons' or 'for personal reasons') and an apology.

    Poor show.

  • Comment number 22.

    The Guardian is reporting that BBC lawyers cleared this programme last week, and the decision to pull it now makes the BBC look weak and confused. To the extent that is the case that Nick Kershaw is attempting to deal with his problems, I very much hope that he withstands this latest blow, and continues to recover and rebuild.

    The BBC MUST give a full account of the controllers decision, to the maximum extent permitted by any legal restraints on it.

  • Comment number 23.

    I didn't mind that much, I enjoyed Salman Rushdie's piece on the Wizard of Oz. Was curious why Andy Kershaw had been pulled though - and we still don't know yet, do we?

  • Comment number 24.

    Like others, I re-arranged my work committments this morning in order to listen to John Humphrys interview Andy Kershaw on R4, only to hear their "Instead of our scheduled programme, we bring you..." announcement, without explanation or apology.
    There may be good reasons for not broadcasting the programme (although doesn't it sound high-handed?), but is there ever a good reason for not treating fee-paying listeners with a little courtesy?

  • Comment number 25.

    From the Grauniad, some background

    I always loved his broadcasts. Here's hoping for a re-birth.

    Slainté (oops!)

  • Comment number 26.

    I was really surprised no reasons for pulling the broadcast were given after hearing the extensive publicity this week. I think listeners have a right to be treated with respect by the BBC.

    The only reason worthy of a non-announcement this morning is that it was done to protect the mental stability of Andy Kershaw himself - any other reason legal or otherwise is not in my opinion sufficient - if it is the former then I would not wish to hear anything further on the matter - just let it be.

    As for Andy Kershaw, he is clearly "on the ropes" and I really wish him well. His broadcasting work has given me pleasure in the past and with a fair wind and BBC support, he clearly has the skills to do so again. Stick at it Andy !

  • Comment number 27.

    I would love to hear andy back on the radio. Perhaps the BBC should send him to North & West Africa for 3 months to produce an indepth series on how the music has changed since he first popularised the artists 20 years ago. This might be the best outcome for all parties.

  • Comment number 28.

    It did feel discourteous not have been given an explanation for the withdrawal of this transmission at the relevant time.

    Andy Kershaw has been a trailblazer in this country (and, I'd suggest, internationally) in the field of world music, and my life has been enriched by his research. It's very sad that his personal life has been so troubled. I hope, for his sake and for that of his ex partner, that wounds can be healed and that he will feel strong enough to return to broadcasting. We miss his passion.

  • Comment number 29.

    I note the Grauniad's report, just posted. My (overseas) edition of The Times has a full centre spread about A Kershaw, referring to the proposed braodcast. Was this pulled from later editions of The Times? And I repeat my earlier comment that sometimes an injunction banning a broadcast will also ban the broadcaster from mentioning the injunction as the reason for the ban (because if 'a court order' or 'legal reasons' is given as the reason for the ban, the identity of the person seeking to stop the broadcast will usually be obvious - although the lack of reason often leads, as presumably here, to guesses as to the identity). I am being kind to Radio 4 here and assuming that is the reason for the lack of reason. I hope I am right and that it was not discourtesy or general disorganisation.

  • Comment number 30.

    Oh, do get a grip! I don't think that your lives are going to fall apart because there wasn't an immediate full explanation for pulling the programme. You all know the reasons now.

    Regardless of legal advice and opinion, if it was considered that the programme content might have an impact on his children and/or former partner then it was the correct call to withdraw transmission.

  • Comment number 31.

    Was really looking forward to this. Like so many others leaving comments it is the quality of breadth of what he has played over the years and the commitment to what he calls unpopular (but certainly not un-good) music from around the world.
    Yes he is in the same league as John Peel, Bob Harris, Charlie Gillett and the Team at Late Junction who all want to give you the customers what you want to hear.
    I wanted to share in the hard time he has had over the last 2 years and listen to give him some support. Please give him his job back soon.

  • Comment number 32.

    Mark, your explanation for pulling this broadcast in no way explains why we are unable to hear one of the most interesting stories on the radio this year.

    Radio 4 listeners are an educated bunch, so why can’t you tell us whether a legal injunction was served, or give a more detailed explanation to this debacle than it “did not work” - and you are controller of one of the most prestigious radio stations?

    The subject of Andy’s recent past is no stranger to the media or public, and as the nature of this edition of On The Ropes, as your own statement says, is to “explore the events leading to Kershaw's breakdown and his subsequent efforts to recover”, I am wondering what content you expected the resultant interview to contain?

    Surely a broadcaster of the standing of John Humphreys would be aware or where he could or could not steer the interview with the relevant legal issues in mind?

    As a journalist and producer myself I find it incredible, with this in mind, that you trailed this programme extensively – not only on this channel, but on Simon Mayo’s Five Live show yesterday and via an article in The Times today which either the Beeb or the production company will have set up as publicity.

    So the decision to publicise and schedule the broadcast of an interview, which is not time sensitive, so close to its recording is quite frankly baffling and lacking common sense.

    All you have done is drawn attention to shabby treatment of an excellent music journalist, and opened the BBC to allegations of victimisation of a man who, it could be said, has suffered a mental breakdown.

    The BBC is quick to jump on the bandwagon to highlight the prejudice and stigma attached to such afflictions, yet seems to be completely unsupportive in reality.

    Kershaw is being punished for a personal issue which has not brought the broadcaster into disrepute in the way that presenters on your sister stations have – personal abuse to guests, being censured by Ofcom for mocking someone’s sexuality, or suspended on full pay after drug allegations.

  • Comment number 33.


    what problems does Nick Kershaw have except writing The One and Only for Chesney Hawkes ;)

  • Comment number 34.

    If the time has not yet come for Nik Kershaw to speak frankly in a recorded programme with John Humphrys in charge of it, I'm not surprised that they daren't let him on the air by himself.

    Dead Ringers has someone who can do him surely? I think that would be the best solution.

  • Comment number 35.

    Yet again the BBC do there upmost to help Andy Kershaw (NOT) - the man has obviously needed help for a long time but we don't see anyone from the bbc being brave enough to come forward to help him - Kershaw has done more for world music in the past 20 - 25 years than any other DJ in the UK - he is well respected by the musicians he has helped to publicise - i met Barrence Whitfield (and the Savages) back in Nov 2007 in Boston USA - when he knew i was from Englnad he asked how things were with Andy cause he'd heard of his troubles.
    I presume he is no longer employed by the BBC yet Wossy can keep his job for being an idiot and casing offence - case of double standards maybe.

    Lets hope Andy gets the help he deserves and thi isn't another case of kicking a man when he is down

  • Comment number 36.

    As a fellow Rochdalian and a grateful beneficiary of Andy Kershaw's nonconformist musical approach, I am appalled by the way his erstwhile employer, the Benighted Broadcasting Corporation, has treated him whilst 'on the ropes'. To publicise and then pull the programme at such short notice beggars belief. Nothing like kicking a man whilst he's down! Surely this could and should have been avoided. A suitably re-edited version should be put out as soon possible, followed by Andy's early reinstatement on the domestic and World Service airwaves so we can all pick up where he left off and move on.

  • Comment number 37.

    It would appear that the broadcast was pulled, at least in part, due to fears that it may "impinge on the privacy of his former girlfriend".

    Now, I don't know all the facts... but, it seems to me, that this is a man who is being prevented from having full access to his children, by a court order sought by that very 'former girlfriend'.

    What kind of mother would do that ? Imagine how painful and distressing that must be, for children, and for the father too.

    For me - I don't need to imagine - I am in the same situation, and it is hell. It is very trendy and PC these days to slate fathers who 'abandon' their kids, don't pay their maintenance, don't maintain the paternal relationship. If that was the case here, then I can understand how Andy might become some kind of 'persona non grata'. Easy fodder.

    However. This is a guy who has simply tried to MAINTAIN that contact with his kids.

    Under those circumstances - 1) he deserves a huge slice of credit, and I for one would like to shake his hand; and 2) the feelings of the mother, surely the antagonist in the situation, should not be prioritised over his...?

    If the BBC wishes to tiptoe around the facts and realities of life, lest it cause 'offence' or incurs legal sanction - then it is a cowardly institution, run by cowards, with self-preservation at the forefront of its agenda, rather than its customers and licence payers. The decision to prevent Andy from having his say, which would (no doubt) have marked the first step on his road back to the full and rich broadcasting career that he has earned and still deserves, is shoddy, and all those responsible should be ashamed of themselves.

    Hang your head, Mr Damazer.

  • Comment number 38.

    So, Mark, on the BBC Radio 3 messageboards, gluing_tripe asks whether BBC Radio 4 will be the new home for World Music?


    BBC Radio 3 has always struggled to find an audience for World Music, as Andy Kershaw, for example, does not play classical music or jazz. Would the Radio 4 audiences be more receptive to Andy and his music?


  • Comment number 39.

    Sorry to learn the prog has been pulled. Was looking forward to hearing AK's Lancastrian drawl again. He is a rare breed: an independent-thinking broadcaster, and an obvious heir to John Peel's legacy. His broadcasts from Africa (and elsewhere) were a refreshing alternative to the usual 'Heart of Darkness' reports. Get the lad back on air asap, and return some heart and soul to the airwaves. Any more novelty panel games and I swear I'll do time.

  • Comment number 40.

    A very difficult problem handled well (no other way to handle it )but it was foreseeable. but it is good that his job is reasonably safe as Nick has been around the circuit the same as his audiences ,women' are allways trouble in breaking up relationships ,sorry' we men are just as bad, it's just that women get more sympathy, all round'

  • Comment number 41.

    Surely after all this response the esteemed Mr Damazer will take on board the comments about courtesy to his listeners and at the very least accept his responsibility to us and tell them on air next time a programme is changed.......we can accept that a programme is not up to standard etc but for goodness sake let the announcer say something about the reason for non broadcast of an advertised and trailed programme.

  • Comment number 42.

    Mr Damazer

    Please answer

  • Comment number 43.

    As someone who knew Andy many moons ago, as a compatriot at grammar school, I was distressed to hear of his recent personal and professional crisis, in the way that anyone would be when hearing bad things about a friend or colleague. When "On the Ropes" was advertised, I actually scheduled my workload for the day to allow some free time to listen to the programme, as I was keen to hear the story of his recent life and in some way, even remotely, support his return to health and some happiness.

    Imagine how irritated I must have been when I tuned in at 09:00 this morning to hear the "we've pulled the episode" announcement without any prior warning.

    If the decision was as a result of legal or contractual complications, then it would, in my opinion, have been more appropriate to say so.If it was as a result of last minute nerves on the part of the BBC, or some misguided attempt to prevent such a fabulous broadcaster returning to the airwaves again, then shame on you for not giving this due consideration when the episode was planned

    Certainly you should have done so before embarking on such a profligate advertising campaign which I am sure resulted in many people, like myself and others posting here, joining Radio 4 especially to listen to Andy's dulcet tones on the radio.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am no fan of BBC management.

    However if the controller of R4 believes that the programme would have been unfair to those unambiguously regarded by the courts as victims of Mr Kershaw's conduct, then I suspect he is quite right to deny him a platform for his self-serving version of events.

    Andy Kershaw may have made some interesting programmes in the past, but he is absolutely NOT the victim here. Spare a thought for those he has betrayed before whining about your frustrated voyeuristic listening pleasure.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm dismayed that the BBC has pulled this programme without explanation and especially with no indication of whether it will ever now be broadcast. We are left reading and re-reading Mark Damazer's brief posting, trying to understand what happened to lead to this situation. For an organisation whose essence is effective communication, the BBC comes out of this looking ill-prepared and unprofessional.
    It is particularly cruel to Andy Kershaw himself, having allowed him to go through what must have been a difficult interview only to leave him with nothing to show for it.
    You could have handled this better...

  • Comment number 46.

    I was very disappointed that this programme did not air; as many others have commented,I had made special arrangements to hear it, did not hear any announcement regarding the programme change, and it took at least thirty minutes for me to find any information.

    By the responses on this blog, it is apparent that the proposed programme had great interest for many of us - a fact that was obviously fully realised by the trails and plugs. In the trail I heard, there was an extract of AK speaking - so I can only assume the decision for the change was made well after the recording. Reading between the lines of Mark Damazer's (somewhat dismissive) explanation, there was obviously a legal problem - not surprising considering the personal nature of this story, and the need to be aware of any affect of the broadcast on the other people involved.

    The promise of hearing AK's version of events - a fact so rigourously exploited in the BBC's trails and plugs to get the widest possible audience - was most attractive. This would have been the chance to hear exactly what had happened, perhaps from only one side, which may be another reason for the change.

    I feel that this has not been handled at all well.

  • Comment number 47.

    Can only agree with most of the comments above reagarding the shoddy treatment of Radio 4 listeners in the lame way in which the Andy Kershaw programme was pulled. We too tuned in specially this evening for the scheduled repeat of the programme and even then there was no proper explanation from the Beeb. Fair enough if there were genuine reasons for cancellation, but this does not sit well with the heavy and very recent pushing of the programme.
    Quite correct too for people to compare the treatment of Mr Kershaw to that of the dreadful and grossly over paid Ross. Get a grip Radio 4.

    PS Not impressed with the bloggers who can't even get Mr Kershaw's first name correct. Rather nullifies their comments!

    Rock on Andy and take care of yourself.

  • Comment number 48.

    Personally I'm amazed the BBC considered making this programme in the first place.

    From the moment I first heard it trailed, I thought "so the BBC are going to pay a convicted criminal to tell his sob-story; how are his victims going to feel about that?"

    At least someone at the BBC showed an iota of sense in cancelling the broadcast - what does it say about the judgement of those who commissioned it though??

  • Comment number 49.

    Does this person know Kershaw was paid? Unlikely. But Damazer's pusillanimous explanation even by the current standards of the BBC is shocking. Does he have the guts to face proper questioning about this? Depressing.

  • Comment number 50.

    Whatever the reasons BBC had for pulling the programme, I was looking forward to hearing Andy Kershaw. I have not held a candle for him in the past, but in the numerous trails, when he said he had had a problem with alcohol and drugs my ears pricked up, as I too have these problems, and I belong to an equally esteemed profession, where the very admittance of a problem will get you struck off for life - the profession of pharmacy, no ifs no buts - you're out of it! and I wanted to see how Andy coped with his problems.
    Such a shame, when Andy's problems could have helped so many people.

  • Comment number 51.

    Having worked in production at the BBC for 18 years I can only assume that the programme contained legal issues that made it impossible to broadcast. Perhaps the programme makers were waiting for the lawyers to give them a final yes or no right up until the last minute?

    It's a shame as this is the first radio programme in years I've made an effort to sit down and listen to last night at 9.30pm (after extensive trailing which is embarrassing for the BBC) I was so looking forward to hearing Andy Kershaws side of the story. The whole of the programme's content could not have been a legal issue though - I'm surpised there wasn't a quick re-edit of the problem areas of the programme then it could've been transmitted as planned.

    This poor guy has obviously had his problems and I hope he is trying to get back on track - please consider re-editing and tx'ing the programme at some point in the near future. Andy Kershaw has a lot a fans who wish him well and want to see him back on the radio.

  • Comment number 52.

    and during the programme the web site still said it was about Andy Kershaw which didn't help my own personal reality crisis.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    Another shameful episode in the BBCs treatment of a talented and landmark broadcaster...one of the few people with character and something to say in the BBCs generally bland schedule.

    I read Andy's very moving interview in the Indepedent last year and was looking forward to hearing more about his story. His experience very much deserves to be heard but as seems to be common these days the BBC has decided that Radio 4 listeners are not grown up enough to make up their own minds...if they aren't then who is? This is censorship in it's worst form.

    It's a despicable treatment of a human being who has been through hell... he doesn't fit the 'perfect' PC view of behaviour which seems to be prevalent in the BBC...but it'symptomatic of the at best shabby treatment of [mainly] men who have made mistakes but who are trying their best to get their lives, and their families lives back on track.

    Disgusting...and Simon Mayo's insensitive comments don't help either... give me Andy Kershaw's honesty and candour any day...

  • Comment number 55.

    What a letdown! Andy Kershaw's story is such a fascinating one. Anyone who has stood on the edge will recognise the agony he is going through and the disruption and hurt it causes all around.
    Come on BBC!! To have Andy on to discuss his personal crisis was bound to lead to private matters being raised and talked about, that's what his story is all about! I can't believe you were so naive you couldn't have seen that.

  • Comment number 56.

    Give him a programme.

    Andy has always provided innovative broadcasting that is and should be a hallmark of quality programmes. Rather than add to his life pressures through withdrawing this broadcast they should recognise his contribution and give him broadcasting time for his musical output - I'm sure Andy would prefer talking about music to recounting his fall from grace.

    Unbelievable that the BBC did not plan/manage the content of the broadcast before the interview took place or at least recorded enough so that it could be edited down.

    Give him a programme - maybe interviewing Miley Cyrus would help - she could do with the publicity!

  • Comment number 57.

    We have a Programme Content Advice page on Ceefax pages 611, such inforamtion appearing under the infor on digital EPGS.

    So would it now be possible to include notes on last minute Radio schedule changes on say Ceefax BBC One page 655, on the Info button and on teh DAB Live Text service?

  • Comment number 58.

    And..."On the Ropes" ...coming up......

    "Marjorie Lambert talks about how her foster daughter shattered her life."

    I do hope that John H can..explore the events leading to her personal crisis and her subsequent efforts to recover while bearing in mind the interests of other parties and providing them with the appropriate degree of privacy.

    If not, it seems to me that the programme will become unsustainable!

  • Comment number 59.

    OK, so it couldn't be made into an 'On The Ropes' - but how about a more highly edited version without the material involving his ex-partner and children? You can see from the number of comments that people just want to know how he is doing.

    I actually support the decision to pull the programme, if there was any chance of disturbing the lives of the other people involved. (That it was a typically ham-fisted management process that led to it is another matter.) But that doesn't mean I don't want to know how he is now, as I really liked his broadcasting and liked hearing his point of view.

  • Comment number 60.

    Understand there are probably very legitimate reasons for the cancellation. But what are the reasons for not telling listeners it was cancelled? I note complaints regarding this from the am broadcast. I listened to Radio 4 from pre 7.00pm, and stayed tuned in throughout, with the specific intention of listening to the repeat at 9.30pm. I only realised it was cancelled at 9.20pm, after logging onto the website. No announcement of the change of broadcast had been given since I switched on.
    Come on Radio 4 - people with intelligence listen. Treat us as such please.

  • Comment number 61.

    >>rockAJagger wrote: I was so looking forward to hearing Andy Kershaw's side of the story.

    But that is surely the nub of the problem. How balanced would it be for the BBC make an entire programme detailing one person's side of the story?

    Especially when that person's already told "his side of the story" to a court, which found it entirely unconvincing, and in numerous newspaper interviews?

    Especially when his victims will have no similar opportunities to publicise their "side of the story"? After all, they are not celebrities, so what chance the BBC will give them a whole programme for a platform?

    The concept of this programme was always woefully wrong-headed. Dropping it was the only sensible decision.

  • Comment number 62.

    I too would like to hear Andy Kershaw's cheery voice back on the Radio. The BBC's treatment of him has been disgraceful, right back to Radio 1 days. The pulling of this programme is just another sorry episode.

  • Comment number 63.

    Give the guy a break...

  • Comment number 64.

    John Peel was quite open about the fact that his survival during his earlier career at the BBC was due to the advantages of the 'old school tie'. This enabled him to play and say things that would have found most DJs out the door. In later years, he had established such a strong, loyal following that he could still get away with much more than most.

    In contrast, BBC managers have been very heavy-handed in their responses to Andy's occasional poke at the establishment, such as his report's of Peel's worries regarding working conditions and his criticism of Saint Bob the Geldoff. Andy has also been right to point out the contrast between his treatment and that of people like Johnnie Walker. I say, "Lay off!", and give Andy the same levels of respect, support, security, and toleration that you have willingly extended to those with posher accents over the years.

    As well as being and excellent DJ, Andy has been an exceptionally brave and adventurous radio journalist, particularly in his support for victims of political and social injustice. This adds irony to the injustice with which he has been treated by his employers. So, let's please put that in the past and start again. Let bygones be bygones and work with Andy to restore him to the leading position he should be occupying.

  • Comment number 65.

    I would just like to add my voice to all those previously made.
    I heard the trails and made a note to catch the evening broadcast, looking forward to hearing Andy's rehabilitation with the BBC.

    To pull the programme at such a late stage smacks of either lack of nerve or poor planning and research. There is nothing of immediate topical importance that required the programme to be recorded and edited so close to the broadcast time. Andy's interview in the Independent last autumn indicates the potential legal minefield. Negotiating a path through that minefield should have been in the producer's plan.

    I really enjoyed Andy's Radio 3 and occasional Radio 4 programmes and look forward to his return. This fiasco can't be good for Andy and is frustrating for his many fans and supporters.

  • Comment number 66.

    For me the pulling of this program is lame institutional judgment on the health and opinions of Andy Kershaw. To trail the interview so heavily and then pull it seems almost intentionally cruel and vindictive. Give the guy a break, not a kicking.

  • Comment number 67.

    There are particular sensitivities around material that involves children and their parents' troubled relationships. It is probably right, although a bit unsatisfactory for us listeners, if you decided to pull the programme and, if this was in the best interests of the family concerned, it is also right that you do not give details about this. We must trust your judgement on this, and curb our disappointment as it would have been a very interesting broadcast.

  • Comment number 68.

    I hope Andy gets to read the above comments, as they show just how much he is missed. And I wish my fellow Lancastrian a speedy return to the airwaves. I can only echo the comments above on his immense contribution in making world music better known, especially in Britain. And his opinions are usually worth listening to. I can't say I agree with his views on 'Woman's Hour', if the comment above is true, but his Independent article on Geldof's preference for 'his tedious friends' over African performers for Live 8 (https://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/andy-kershaw-the-myth-of-saint-bob-saviour-of-africa-494349.html%29 was spot on. And his outrage over how the BBC can keep Ray Gosling off the airways is genuine and, again, spot on. Let's have some more of Ray, too.

    I'd liked to have heard the programme, but the qualms the BBC had were serious ones. I can empathise with Andy: it took me years to reestablish a relationship with my daughters after their mother and I split up. The end of a partnership can be very rough and damaging, even without any added complications of drink, etc., and things are said and done that do not help. And, according to the newspapers and the judiciary, Andy has done a lot of damage.

    My advice for what's it's worth: Andy needs to get his former partner to trust him again with the children, and move on from his relationship with their mother. Easy for me to say, eh? But what else can he do? He must understand for the sake of his children, and his peace of mind, that that's where he needs to put a lot of work. I'm sure he knows this, but it is such a hard thing for anyone to do.

    Maybe an 'On The Ropes' programme, however much I'd have liked to have heard his Rossendale Valley tones on air again, may not have been the best way to do this. His past behaviour has done him no favours, but what (little) I have read about his ex-partner Ms Banner's thoughtful and effective support for WaterAid leads me to believe that she is a sensible person, so I think that he can take heart. However, she is only human and has genuine concerns which need to be taken with the utmost seriousness.

    The second and far less important priority for him: get the BBC to trust him with work again. Come on, BBC, look how much people miss him. You give plenty of work to some very lightweight broadcasters (examples in the comments above, and don't get me started on uber-dullard Alistair Cooke again). Please consider Mr Kershaw and your - his - listeners (and don't forget Ray Gosling). Thank you.

  • Comment number 69.

    Only in the most extreme cases of marital breakdown, where a partner presents an actual threat to the safety of the children is it excusable for the custodial parent to oppose or deny access. And no matter how bitter the split it is never excusable to use the children as weapons against the other parent, a parent who does not recognise this will cause lasting damage to the child. The welfare of the children is paramount.
    Andy Kershaw is certainly not a violent man and the stupid things he has done stem from the fact that he loves his children to an extent that he has put his career and reputation on the line in order to see them. His partner is using this 'weakness' simply to score points - disgraceful !

  • Comment number 70.

    Have a look at Andy Kershaw's comments in the Independent this morning (1 May).

    I hope the BBC reconsiders or provides a more detailed explanation.

  • Comment number 71.

    >>>mylevreeshey wrote:..."where a partner presents an actual threat to the safety of the children is it excusable for the custodial parent to oppose or deny access....Andy Kershaw is certainly not a violent man..."

    I'm not sure how you can pronounce with such certainty on Kershaw's pacific nature. Have you met him, especially after he's had a few?

    Let's not forget though that he *is* a drink driver (convicted). That makes him a threat to the safety of his own children, and everyone else's.

    Given the number of children that end up splashed across the roads every year as a consequence of drink driving, I consider it to be pretty close to unforgivable. This alone should make the BBC stay well clear of Kershaw.

  • Comment number 72.

    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?

  • Comment number 73.

    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.

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    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.

  • Comment number 76.

    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 https://johnpeel.net


    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.

  • Comment number 77.

    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?

  • Comment number 78.

    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.

  • Comment number 79.

    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.

  • Comment number 80.

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


  • Comment number 81.

    >>>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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