Radio Five Live whipped itself into quite a frenzy over the Chris Grayling rumpus. Stephen Nolan could hardly contain himself when the story broke during his show last night, admitting to the senior programme editor of Channel 4 News today that he was “ready to burst” waiting for the boxing to finish (not a pleasant image – can’t get Mr Creosote out of my mind for some reason).

Five Live’s political reporter Chris Mason shared Nolan’s enthusiasm:

Anna Adams (“Interactive Reporter, BBC News”) was so excited she posted her first tweets in over a week. The story remained Five Live’s top headline until midday today (even the breaking news of three car bombs and dozens dead in Baghdad was deemed a lesser item on the 11am and 11.30 am bulletins). Unsurprisingly, the Tory Party’s widening lead in the opinion polls was not considered very newsworthy.

The fervour shown for this story by the Beeb (and particularly Five Live) suggests that there are a number of BBC journalists simply itching to give the Tories a good kicking. Unfortunately for them I don’t think most people are particularly bothered one way or the other by Grayling’s views on gays and B&Bs. Still, no doubt there will be other opportunities to stick the boot in between now and election day.

Sunday night update. Keeping it going:

Update 2. And as of 10.30pm Sunday night it’s the number one headline on Radio Five Live again.

Earth Hour vs Human Achievement Hour

On Radio Five Live’s Morning Reports today Nick Bryant ended a piece about Earth Hour with a quick reference to the Competitive Enterprise Institute counter campaign, Human Achievement Hour. The response from the newsreader in the studio (Vicki Sperrey?) amused me. Just in case listeners were in any doubt whose side the BBC is on…

Sunday Mornings on Five Live

A couple of weeks ago Heat magazine editor Sam Delaney appeared on Kate Silverton’s radio show as her sidekick for the day, and he left listeners in no doubt about his political leanings with a rant about Cameron and the Tories. I assumed at the time that Silverton would have a different “studio friend” each week, reflecting a broad spectrum of political opinion. That was pretty stupid of me, this being the BBC (and Radio Five Live in particular). As part of the station’s new year shake-up Delaney’s role on the show is actually permanent. No surprises, then, to read this in Monday’s Guardian:

Sam Delaney… was once a researcher for Harriet Harman and Gordon Brown…
In the 1990s, as a self-confessed “19-year-old stonehead”, he was passionately into Labour politics and one of his jobs as Harman’s researcher was to deliver her tuna sandwiches when she was in shadow cabinet meetings. His boss at Millbank was Ed Miliband. “Most of the people who were part of the research group, and would have a pint with each other or lunch in the canteen, are now cabinet ministers, whereas I am editor of Heat.”

Having listened to the mockney tones of the former Labour researcher, one can stay tuned for 7 Day Sunday, presented by Tory-hating Chris Addison. The Independent’s radio reviewer wasn’t impressed with the first programme:

Chris Addison, the comedian who plays the weedy Ollie Reeder in The Thick of It, has been given his own topical news show 7 Day Sunday.
As usual, there is a certain amount of “category error” in this choice. As Ollie in The Thick of It, Addison is hilariously funny, but this is because his lines are written by the comic genius Armando Iannucci. On 7 Day Sunday, however, Addison is writing his own lines, assisted by a studio gang who would laugh at a pig’s bladder on a stick. On The Thick of It there is snappy dialogue at a thousand miles an hour, but if you talk like that on radio without enough jokes or substance then the listener’s mind skitters all over the place trying to concentrate, before giving up. The show’s brief was to “pull apart the week’s big news stories”, but in the event the only news covered was snow. Weirdly for someone who made his name in a political satire there wasn’t any. Why not? The Gordon Brown coup should have provided acres of material, but it took ages to get round to, and then got a paltry two minutes.

This reluctance to make fun of the Labour government contrasts sharply with Addison’s attitude to the Tories. This week he joked about dancing on Margaret Thatcher’s grave. Classy.

Radio Five Live. Gearing up for the general election.

Update. In the comments Ryan reproduces an email from R5L controller Adrian Van Klaveren re Delaney.

BBC Luvvies For Labour

The BBC is going big on “Doctor Who star David Tennant ‘backs Gordon Brown’“. Tennant, a Scot recently replaced by a younger man, is quoted:

“Clearly, the Labour Party is not without some issues right now and I do get frustrated. They need to sort some stuff out, but they are still a better bet than the Tories.”

Meanwhile, election year sees the start of a new topical comedy show on Radio Five Live presented by Chris Addison, the only person who comes anywhere near to matching Tennant’s recent levels of BBC ubiquity. So, will Addison’s new programme offer a fresh perspective on current affairs, or will it be the same tiresome worldview from the BBC’s left-wing comedy establishment? Addison’s opinions on the Conservative Party could give a clue:

“It’s very difficult, if you were brought up as a child during Thatcher’s period, to ever contemplate being a Tory. There is no way I can physically bring myself to vote Tory. That will stay with me till I die.”

On Twitter a couple of days ago he was asked what he thought about the current government and responded:

“Better than the alternative.”

A little later he tweeted:

“My political leanings are decidedly liberal.”

Which, coincidentally, is the first box you have to tick if you want to present a Sunday morning programme on Radio Five Live.

Update 5.05pm. Perhaps we’ll be treated to some of Addison’s views on Europe. From an interview with him on the BBC’s comedy website:

I am fiercely pro-European. I would very much have liked to see this country join the Euro a few years back. Not least because it would greatly annoy the kind of people that I don’t generally like.

I’m fiercely pro-European as well (OK, maybe not “fiercely”), but I don’t buy into the anti-democratic EU project.

New R5L Line-up

Any thoughts on the new Five Live schedule?

Victoria Derbyshire’s recent Nick Clarke Award for best broadcast interview has been rewarded with the loss of an hour to Obama-lovin’ glamour puss Gabby Logan, who will now be on from 12 ’til 2 weekdays. She’ll be followed by Richard Bacon which means that R5L’s afternoon output will now be determined by the daily obsessions of a tiny number of like-minded celebrity luvvie twitterers.

At least my preference for the afternoon slot has been given his own show: former Sunday Sport editor Tony Livesey takes over from Bacon for the late night stint. Livesey’s occasional stand-in sessions on Weekend Breakfast have made the alternative to the Sunday morning religious broadcasting on Radio 4 bearable for a change. Bonus – his appointment has not gone down well with one Five Live permanent fixture, leftie luvvie Boyd Hilton. I hope Livesey bears that in my mind when he’s booking his guests.

For those unfamiliar with Livesey’s work, this is from the Press Gazette report following his resignation from Sport newspapers:

Livesey told Press Gazette his lasting legacy would be the Cutting Edge Channel 4 documentary about the Sport that showed him coming up with the headline “Shoots You, Sir” about the murder of Gianni Versace. The headline referred to popular comedy sketch show The Fast Show that included a sketch where two tailors said the catchphrase “Suits you, Sir”.
Livesey said: “One of my other proudest moments was when I didn’t quite believe the story ‘Aliens turned our son into a fish finger’ so I told the reporter to go to Asda buy a packet of fish fingers, mix the child in with them and see if the mother could pick it out.”

A bigger role for Livesey has got to be a good thing, yeah?

Update. Forgot the hat-tip to Martin in the comments.

Update 2. Imagine the outrage from all the luvvies if Twitter had existed when Livesey responded to the death of a gay fashion icon with the headline “Shoots You Sir”.

Is BBC Lying Over F-Bombgate?

Today the BBC told the Telegraph that an “unnamed producer” was responsible for an outburst of swearing on yesterday’s Morning Reports on Radio Five Live. I noted yesterday that a couple of tweets suggested that the racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght was to blame.

Compare the f-bomb clip with the one of Cornelius Lysaght taken from Radio Five Live today. Is it the same person?

If it is the same person (and it sounds like it to me) why would the BBC lie? It’s not as if Lysaght can be blamed for the error; in fact, if he’s forced to listen to tedious jazz fusion while waiting to file reports he deserves our sympathy. Is the BBC telling the truth, and if not, why not?

Radio Five Live Guests

In a column from last November titled “BBC must end its smug comedy consensus” the Guardian’s Martin Kelner said he was helping produce some pilots of a talkshow for Radio Five Live; he explained that he was keen to avoid the “cosy broadly leftwing” consensus found on shows such as Richard Bacon and Gabby Logan. I was reminded of this when, flicking through the stations this morning, I heard Mrs Logan chatting with her studio guests – Mark Steel, the old school leftie comedian, and Mark Thomas, the old school leftie comedian.

I can only assume that Kelner’s proposals were rejected as I’ve heard nothing from Radio Five Live to suggest anything has changed, consensus-wise, since he wrote that column. Perhaps the controller thought that a Guardian columnist would be too tentative in addressing the obvious problem of bias and has asked Richard Littlejohn to make a programme instead. Or maybe the BBC is simply happy with things as they are, thank you very much.

(Gabby Logan on this morning’s show: “What did you make of Obama holding hands with Sarah Brown then? There’s a lot of women in the world would’ve liked to be in THAT position!”)


Trying to escape the hype the BBC is producing for the Olympic Games is difficult, unless one turns off! But I happened to tune in to Victoria Derbyshire this morning and was amazed to hear her ask a listener who had phoned in to say that awarding the games to China was a disgrace given its’ human rights record why he had not also objected to LA getting the Games back in 1984. She clearly equates the tyrants that run China with the democratically elected US government.


Listening to BBC Radio 5 live is always good for a laugh. Earlier this morning, I listened in the Breakfast programme with Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty. The item under discussion was in respect of a plan from some supporters of Liverpool FC to raise enough money to buy the troubled club from its American owners. The idea being contemplated is to see if enough fans would be interested in putting up £5000 each and thus buying 1 share each. Apparently Barcelona use this same method and it has kept them out of the hands of speculating capitalists! (Always bad in Beebview) What raised my eyebrows however was when Nicky Campbell asked the Sports correspondent what was to stop someone from investing more than £5000 – would this not entitle them to a greater level of share ownership for example? “No”, came the instant response, “it’s a good communist system” of one man one share. This was met with approval. Power to the people, eh comrades? I don’t know about you but Five Live is bias incarnate, do you ever listen to it and if so, would you agree?