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Sunday 8 May 2016

Peston - How Was It For You?

Joining the Sunday morning mélange of politics and punditry today was the much-trailed ITV vehicle led by their new political editor Robert Peston, Peston on Sunday. Zelo Street was looking in, at least for the first half hour, after which, well, I had a blog post to finish up and get published. How the political obsessive manages all of this is mystifying.
Now here's a thing, viewers ... Robert Peston

On one count I was disappointed, but only from a Certain Age point of view: I did think ITV might use the old Weekend World slot, which from memory was 12 noon. Many who remember that show might only remember the era when Brian Walden held court and used the programme as a means of winding up and then skewering unfortunate politicians in gladiatorial set-piece interviews, but in its first incarnation under Peter Jay, it was not unlike the Peston format (WW was another John Birt brainchild).

But 1000 hours it is, on what looks suspiciously like the Good Morning Britain set, and in a time slot that forces viewers to either pre-record, or choose between Peston and Dermot Murnaghan on Sky. Viewers will invariably compare the show with The Andy Marr Show (tm), if only because one follows directly after the other, and that comparison might not work to Peston’s advantage. The studio set is one reason.

Look first at the Marr Show set. The host has one chair to his left, the sofa to his right, the table with Sunday papers, screen over right shoulder, and that’s it. It’s all compact, and paper review leads straight into interview, into weather forecast, to another interview, and so on. Not so with the Peston offering, where the host has to get up from his desk - not sure about the desk thing, works in the USA and all that, but - to talk with his pundits.

There is also Allegra Stratton, with Screeny McScreenface (tm), who managed reasonably well, despite one social media snippet going AWOL, and her tendency to punctuate her narrative by saying “Now!” on occasion, which I’m not going to bang on about because she’s heard about that several times already. But it’s another part of the studio for the cameras to have to move to. Not sure about that. Perhaps it’ll grow on me.

The pundits being present and commenting on the interviews is new and different. Alastair Campbell is always reliable, right down to reliably being caught by the camera not paying attention and Tweeting during George Osborne’s interview. Esther McVey is less so, and is another who sounds like she’s been on a diet of middle management flannel-speak. There are far better centre-right pundits around.

But what never helps in ITV land, and as I mentioned GMB, yes, it affects that programme too, is having to throw to a commercial break. Like right in the middle of the centrepiece interview. That, and the having to move between parts of the set, allows the flow to be broken up, and the commercial imperative of the broadcaster means there is no way round it. Times have changed since Weekend World - Walden would never have accepted that.

Peston On Sunday is not yet the finished article. It will improve, and perhaps not all of those features we saw today will survive the finishing process. Not a bad start, though.


Anonymous said...

Typo in title

Tim Fenton said...

Well spotted that commenter!

Fixed, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sets....front men/front women.......they can change them all as often (or as little) as they like it won't make anything but a marginal difference. BBC and all the others have now merged until it is nearly impossible to see any difference whatever. They're all neocon liars and propagandists - some of them almost openly fascist in the shite they peddle.

The tenth rate weirdo cockney Peston even claimed in his load-of-cack "book," "Who Runs Britain?" that "Greed is good" - finally, Gordon Gekko made it to British TV.

You won't find plain decency and truth amongst any of them. They're far too busy peddling lies, bullshit and trivia to further their "careers." Not one of them has the courage to whistle-blow the whole disgusting charade out of the water. Invariably they end up like the absurd old shouty tory Jeremy Paxman. Or, worse, Jon Snow and his stupid ties and socks, occasionally bribed with a narcissistic "interview" of a crackpot artist - usually Chinese - with his latest "creation" of a pile of rusty reinforcing rods thrown on the floor of some spivcon "art gallery" somewhere in Corruption-On-Thames. Most of them look and sound like an old tin can being kicked down a back alley.

But their days are numbered by social media. Only the news hasn't reached them yet.

Crispin Fisher said...

I thought it was interesting today how George Osborne used his appearance on the Peston show to rebut some of the Brexit nonsense that Gove had spouted thirty minutes earlier on the Marr Show. In future weeks politicians may have start thinking more carefully about which show to appear on if they want to properly get their message across.

rob said...

@ Crispin

But then we will be told what certain politicians will be saying on a particular issue the night before instead of, as now, the morning of the day. Which will be nice as there will be a day we can turn off already knowing the news.

Mr Brown said...

Weirdo Cockney, eh?
Rob Preston's from Crouch End. North London mate.
I hope your pigeon's geography is a bit better than yours.

Anonymous said...

@Mr. Brown.

You all look and sound the same to the rest of the country.

And it's P-E-S-T-O-N not "Preston"......"mate."

I hope your pigeon's spelling is better than yours.

But Crouch End does seem appropriate, particularly the "Crouch" bit.

Mr Brown said...

Cheers mate - of course it's Peston!
Preston's that gaff in Yorkashire isn't it, the glare off the golden pavements must have distracted me.

Tim Fenton said...


Lancashire, unless you mean Long Preston, which is in North Yorkshire.