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Monty Don, in peasant blue, on grand French gardens

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On TV & Radio on 6 February 2013. One comment.

Monty Don is an extraordinary figure, and never more so than in his new series on French gardens. At home, and normally, his approach on Gardeners’ World is a work of art. It draws one in. His persona is the antithesis of the TV celebrity. There is no concession to the plebian or the demotic. He is quite Bloomsbury, or Sitwell. He is of the 1950s – somehow, in his world, we are only just out of rationing. Electricity has been invented, but is kept indoors – it has not reached the garden, quite.  His is the manner of an eccentric aristocrat, or gnarled bohemian. But there is the affectation of peasant authenticity, and quite possibly a dread of the common, the flashy, the arriviste and the nouveau. That produced a fine muddle in France. More »

How I saved the BBC from the right-wing

Posted by RDN under Climate change / On TV & Radio on 15 November 2012. 9 comments.

All right. My headline may be over-egging things a little. Still, I am pretty sure I helped save the BBC from making a fool of itself over climate change politics. (If I’m wrong, and someone in a position to know lets me know in confidence, I’ll cheerfully take this blog down.) The issue is especially interesting to me since I want the BBC to be scrapped but I don’t really share the right’s horror of its supposed left-wing bias or even the current blogosphere outrage at the BBC’s climate coverage. More »

Paedophile inquiries: Waterhouse vs Webster?

Posted by RDN under On TV & Radio on 13 November 2012. No comments.

It’s early days in the re-investigation of claims of paedophilia in Wales, but it is perhaps a good moment to hope that the work of Richard Webster gets re-visited. In his The Secret of Bryn Estyn (2005 and 2009), Webster (who died in 2011) made a detailed case that many of the allegations of abuse were false, and had indeed been induced by police, judicial and journalistic practices.  He claimed these failings had led to several false imprisonments. Webster criticised the Waterhouse Inquiry for misunderstanding the nature of false allegations, and for allowing them to go unchallenged. In short, Ronald Waterhouse (who also died in 2011) may have failed to uncover some cases of abuse, but it may well be that his inquiry also failed to uncover some gross miscarriages of justice. More »

Tessa Jowell’s mutual BBC

Posted by RDN under On TV & Radio on 13 November 2012. No comments.

Tessa Jowell has proposed that the BBC must be preserved and that it should be a mutual owned and controlled by the licence-fee holders. This is a socialist romantic’s vision and it mirrors rather well my “right-wing” proposal for a National Media Trust. More »

Dimbleby half right on BBC management

Posted by RDN under On TV & Radio / Politics & campaigns on 12 November 2012. No comments.

There was something quite blissful about David Dimbleby’s contribution to today’s BBC Today programme (12 November 2012). He said the BBC was over-managed, and that such organisations as the BBC and NHS spawned bureaucracies. The paradox here is that he doesn’t grasp that one reason that the NHS and the BBC are alike is that they are both state-sponsored behemoths with monolithic tendencies. More »

Reforming the BBC

Posted by RDN under On TV & Radio / Politics & campaigns on 11 November 2012. No comments.

We should hope all hope that BBC is well-managed. Why not give George Entwistle a nice contract to design an organisational and cultural shake-up, now he’s free to concentrate on such a cerebral operation? After all, surely the problems which sank him were of others’ making, and Lord Patten says Entwistle was appointed precisely on this ticket? More »

“Rev” could not have imagined Justin Welby

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On TV & Radio on 10 November 2012. No comments.

Eton, Trinity (Cambridge), Elf, Alpha (Holy Trinity, Brompton), Newsnight (“The trouble with austerity is, what’s a slight chill in Chelsea is a pretty good ice age up here.”), Imagine (played on the bells of Liverpool Cathedral) and on to Lambeth. It’s a heavenly progression, and a testimony to the insight of the BBC’s Rev. Now let’s see if Justin Welby can talk sense about bankers.

Newsnight’s latest blunder

Posted by RDN under On TV & Radio / Politics & campaigns on 10 November 2012. No comments.

After Steve Hewlett’s masterly commentary on the mea culpa Newsnight (BBC2, 9 November 2012), I would only add two thoughts. More »

Ford Maddox Ford on “the Gentle Tory”

Posted by RDN under Mind & body / On TV & Radio / Politics & campaigns on 5 September 2012. One comment.

David Priestland had a fascinating but flawed take on Tom Stoppard’s take on FMF’s take on the Tory type (The Gentle Tory is alive and well – on television). Actually, I say, the BBC drama is unsurprisingly BBC-ish, but with valuable quirks. Its adaptor may be rightish, but the BBC’s leftishness can live with this show pretty well.  More »

Team GB and UK Plc

Posted by RDN under Economic affairs / On TV & Radio on 11 August 2012. No comments.

Britiain’s economic success clearly matters just now and it’s germane to wonder if the Olympics have helped. Here are some pros and cons on the matter. More »

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