Changing channels: the new war for political broadcasting

It’s hard to step outside nowadays without being confronted with a massive picture of Piers Morgan. In the adverts for his new TalkTV show he can be seen crushing the House of Commons in his hands or pointing to an address for the channel’s complaints department. ‘Love him or hate him,’ the adverts declare, ‘you won’t want to miss him.’ Actually, it seems, people don’t mind if they do. At the last count, barely 40,000 tuned in. In contrast, Morgan’s final appearance on Good Morning Britain drew almost two million viewers. So what’s going on? One answer is that TalkTV, like any new channel, will take a while to establish

The most disadvantaged group in Britain? White working-class men

I’m not sure what to think about the BBC’s announcement that it wants a quarter of its staff to be from working-class backgrounds by 2027. On the one hand, I’m against hiring quotas of any kind and think every position should be filled by the person best qualified for the job. But on the other, if the BBC is going to have diversity targets – and fighting against them seems futile at this point – then this one seems better than most. The rationale for this quota, according to the BBC, is it wants its staff to ‘better reflect UK society’, but I’m not sure it will achieve that. The

Can £3,000 make me as pretty as Emily Maitlis?

If you’re a journalist with a fondness for appearing on television — and, let’s face it, most of us are — the Covid crisis has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re no longer expected to drag yourself off to a studio at the crack of dawn, whether it’s Broadcasting House in the West End or Sky’s headquarters in Isleworth. You simply tumble out of bed, open your laptop and do a ‘down the line’. You don’t even have to put your trousers on. But the big drawback is, you look terrible. In a television studio, you have the benefit of make-up, professional lighting and proper cameras and

Impartiality and the battle for broadcast

Two big kites were launched by the Sunday Times that could, should they fly, redraw the broadcasting landscape. ‘BBC critics set for top jobs in broadcasting’ its front-page headline announced. The Prime Minister, it suggested, has offered Lord Charles Moore the chairmanship of the BBC and Paul Dacre, the chairmanship of the media regulator Ofcom. Both are former editors of newspapers of the right and neither has much love for what the BBC has become. For some, it is simply an obscene Tory stitch-up. The former Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, was perhaps the most succinct: ‘No process. No joke. This is what an oligarchy looks like.’ Well, ‘Up to a point,