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The ONE Show

August 14th, 2006 (07:14 pm)

I've just seen some of this misconceived programme, inspired by the same nostalgia for old television that has inspired some of the press coverage, and by the chance to see Freema Agyeman talk on television for the first time about playing Martha Jones in the next series of Doctor Who. Freema was engaging, but the questions of her interviewers Adrian Chiles and Nadia Sawalha utterly witless. The Freema interview followed a piece on antisocial behaviour which did little more than show how boorish this country is while simultaneously laughing at those who attempted to remain polite, an interpretation emphasised by the jeers of Chiles. Chiles, in an interview in today's Guardian, was anxious to distance The ONE Show from Nationwide, the fondly remembered current affairs series which ran on BBC 1 from 1969 to 1983. Publicity has sought to harness nostalgia for Nationwide at the same time as sneering at it for 'skateboarding ducks'. I'd rather watch a skateboarding duck than a piece about people picking their feet on trains, or Dan Snow condescending hamfistedly to his audience trying to make Dover Castle 'interesting' on the assumption that history is a boring subject. Besides, this attitude panders to a mistaken media folk memory about Nationwide - it wasn't some catalogue of the bizarre, but the BBC's premier news 'brand' (in modern terminology), applied to practically every national event; the eccentric sat alongside the reflective and the combative, the kind of mix that no-one has been able to do without smirking since. There are echoes of Nationwide in The ONE Show - there is a handover at the end of the regional news programmes, at least here in South Today country, and there is even a hand back at the end, so that the regional anchor can give news headlines. This approach is at odds with the rest of The ONE Show format, which is feature-led rather than news-led, and owes more to the half-hour documentary-lite slots like Real Story which seek to emotionally engage with what 'matters' to viewers. Chiles and Sawalha represent not the voice of 'the heart of the UK', as Chiles described Birmingham, where their studio is, but a metropolitan elite's idea of how viewers see themselves - an aggressively faux-matey host, and a woman presenter who, sadly not too amazingly, has been able to get by as a jill-of-all-trades by adopting a sort of faded Barbara Windsor impression as her screen persona.

The idea of a daily magazine to start the evening on BBC 1 isn't a bad one; but it needs to be more professional (too much talkback in the Freema interview) and pitch its address to the viewer to make it seem less disposable. It needs, in fact, to be more like mid-period Nationwide; and that can be done without going back to the three day week or placing the UK under the administration of the International Monetary Fund. They can get better, but Chiles and Sawalha need to change their mode of address and the mix of items needs to be more attention-grabbing.


Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: August 14th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)

You need to submit this to Private Eye.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 14th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)

I'd need to rethink it, but it's not a bad idea.

Posted by: Disparate Housewife (wryelle)
Posted at: August 15th, 2006 07:46 am (UTC)

Nope. Not sorry I've never heared of it then. :)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 15th, 2006 10:49 am (UTC)

You're not missing much!

Posted by: bunn (bunn)
Posted at: August 15th, 2006 09:15 am (UTC)

Never 'eard of it...

Our local news down here is mostly skateboarding ducks, interrupted only by occasional surfing or yachting events, and from time to time, things that go up in flames. You can just see the reporters brightening up when a conflagration is announced.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 15th, 2006 10:44 am (UTC)

I've probably only heard of it because I'm an addict of the media pages - the BBC have been working on The ONE Show - dreadful title, too, as it ties it to a transient phase of channel branding - for months, and building up Chiles, in particular, in the PR round.

Posted by: malaheed (malaheed)
Posted at: August 15th, 2006 09:46 am (UTC)

People watch television to get the news? Goodness me, what will they think of next? Daily printouts of all the websites so you can read offline and carry it around without using power?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: August 15th, 2006 10:48 am (UTC)

Yes, they do watch television to get the news, and long may they continue to do so, as well as read newspapers, and yes, even websites. Long may they continue to do so.