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Monday, May 19, 2008

What are TV presenters for?

"Russia: A Journey With Jonathan Dimbleby", the BBC series currently running on Sunday nights, makes you wonder. In his effort to get to the heart of this vast, mysterious land and its inscrutable people Dimbleby is somewhat handicapped by the fact that the only word of Russian he knows is the one for "thank you". The producer, whose idea this series presumably was, is fluent so she comes round the Dimbleby side of the camera to translate the star's questions and the answers of the drunk on the train or the retired collective farm worker in her garden. That means there are three people in the frame. Common sense dictates that if we had to lose one, surely it would be the star.