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Posts under ‘On TV & Radio’

BHS and capitalism’s moral compass

Posted by RDN under Economic affairs / On TV & Radio / RDN's media outings on 15 June 2016. One comment.

The BHS and Sports Direct sagas have raised the question: is UK capitalism in a uniquely scuzzy phase? I am inclined to say that it isn’t but that anyway capitalism has many forms ranging from the decent to the near-criminal; from the paternalist to the devil-may-care.  The problem for society is how to regulate the intolerably bad bits without killing the vigour some quite dodgy chancers (none of those invoved in the sagas in question have been proved to be so) bring to the economic table. More »

The Battle of Jutland – getting the history right

Posted by RDN under Military Covenant / Mind & body / On TV & Radio on 9 June 2016. 3 comments.

This is an account of some issues surrounding the historiography of the Battle Jutland, including a critique of a BBC documentary on this enormous naval engagement. It refers especially to two important written sources dated 1921 (and 1986) and 1998. More »

“Scrap the BBC!” (2016) on BBC radio

Posted by RDN under National Media Trust / On TV & Radio / RDN's media outings on 17 May 2016. No comments.

This month saw the publication of the 2016 government White Paper on the BBC which as part of the 2016 Charter renewal process, will set the purposes, funding and governance of the state broadcaster for eleven years.

I was wheeled out on Radio 5 Live and a couple of BBC Radio Scotland shows to defend my view that the BBC ought to be got rid of. Almost all the arguments I used in my book, “Scrap the BBC!”: Ten years to set broadacsters free in 2007 seem germane now. The book’s main fault was in supposing that by now, 2016, we would be further ahead in freeing ourselves of fear of losing the BBC. Indeed, the White Paper is at the very most merely a small step toward a reduced, let alone an abolished BBC.

In one matter, the appetite to be rid of the flat, 12-month licence fee, I have better evidence than I did in 2007. It is an area, see below, in which I have a bit of a beef with Steve Hewlett, the country’s leading media guru. More »

RDN on BBC Scotland: “Scrap the BBC!”

Posted by RDN under National Media Trust / On TV & Radio / RDN's media outings on 16 July 2015. No comments.

I had quite an interesting outing on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye phone-in show on the BBC’s charter review which begins in earnest today. I argued as usual for the “nuclear option” of getting rid of this antiquated institution. More »

Prof Cox, fusion and the wonder of risk

Posted by RDN under Climate change / Mind & body / On TV & Radio on 20 February 2015. 2 comments.

Brian Cox has already suggested that mankind is alone, and should celebrate the wonder of it.  But, as he is foremost in reminding us, we are also the shards of star-dust that have become conscious and clever. Indeed, in creating industrial scale fusion reactors, if we ever do, we will have succeeded in not merely imitating our sun, but have found how to deploy its forces. More »

Rory Stewart’s middling account of the Middleland

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On TV & Radio / Politics & campaigns on 16 April 2014. No comments.

Rory Stewart, Tory MP for Penrith and the Border and previously a diplomat in some chronic “borderlands” (ex-Yugoslavia and Afghanistan) has given us a TV (and, I gather, a book) account of his love of what he calls the Middleland, between England and Scotland, which he now represents. It’s exhilarating stuff, but is it tosh…..? More »

Brutalism: Big it up for Meades

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On art / On TV & Radio on 26 February 2014. No comments.

Jonathan Meades is a vital figure, a sort of a Christopher Hitchens for architecture, with a dash of Ian Nairn, but considerable wallops of Suggsy, and a undertone of some late 18th Century person (wonderful to think it might be JM’s admired Burke himself). I very much approve his appreciation of Brutalism, though I would go further and wider…. More »

“Top Gear” and Chernobyl

Posted by RDN under On TV & Radio on 17 February 2014. No comments.

I have a soft spot for the absurd Top Gear and its “star in a cheap car” and its supercar features. But above all I like the Flashmanism of some of the team’s heroics. Very galling, then, to watch their absurd treatment of  a visit to Chernobyl. More »

BBC Radio 2 and being human

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On TV & Radio / RDN's media outings on 16 October 2013. No comments.

I have been wondering what I would say if asked to contribute to the Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show mini-series on what it is to be human. I suppose I would begin by assuming that one is trying to see the difference between humans and animals. One angle, then, would be to say that we are moral: a large can of worms, that. But what else? More »

BBC vs LSE, and the point of journalism

Posted by RDN under On TV & Radio / Politics & campaigns on 17 April 2013. No comments.

A curiosity of the BBC’s undercover trip to North Korea is that hardly anyone has framed the argument in the terms which matter and would once have seemed obvious. Namely: as the debate about the trip went up the chain at the BBC, no-one seems to have considered it important to ask the governing body of the LSE whether it minded having its institutional brand, imprimatur and name hijacked. When asked, the LSE said it wasn’t happy. But the BBC and its fans (let’s especially include the articulate and usefully clear piece by Robin Lustig in the Guardian) merely repeat the mantra that the BBC was responsibly considerate as to the risk its trip posed to the club-members who accompanied it…. More »

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