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Thursday 15 April 2010

UK Election - 'The Politics Show' on BBC shamelessly padding its schedule

The BBC has obviously decided that it has to have minute-by-minute reporting every time some politician or other, or newspaper 'pundit', or as today an American actor, sneezes or has something to say. All padded out, in the case of The Daily Politics to a full hour, rather than its usual 30 minutes most days (other than on Wednesdays when it includes the 30 minutes of PMQs so occupies a worthwhile 90 minute slot, whenever Parliament is sitting).

Call me an old curmudgeon, but whilst The West Wing was one of my favourite American TV shows, the people playing roles in it were/are ACTORS, not politicians. I've now seen Richard Schiff (who played Toby Zielgler in the TV show) on two 'serious' current affairs programmes in the past few days (I cannot remember where I saw him a few days ago) and today Andrew Neil had him on. Why? This really far too much like 'life imitating art' for my tastes; he's only in London to 'publicise' his latest movie, after all - he may or may not have individual views which are interesting to hear, but no more than any other foreign visitor and the fact he had a major acting role in a make-believe foreign show about politics is not a good enough reason to have him on what is supposed to be a serious programme about UK politics; the correct place for him is on the Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton 'entertainment' shows. I may not particularly care for Polly Toynbee and her political views, but having her on as one of the guest 'pundits' at least has some relevance to the UK political scene.

I realise that there is a very important election coming up and that, particularly in the week prior to the election there needs to be extensive coverage, but I really do believe that broadcast media (and the BBC is not alone in this - ITV is almost as bad) have gone a bit overboard. The ITV profiles of the three main Party leaders every evening this week, until the first 'Debate' tonight, were at least a decent attempt to let people know a bit more about what makes the three men 'tick', but the padding in The Daily Politics is blatant; the BBC should either fill the show with punchier segments, or cut it back to 30 minutes

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