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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Joining the unprofessionals

On Friday night we watched "My Life In Verse" in which comedian Robert Webb "went on a journey" in search of e.e.cummings. This search brought him to the feet of Clive James, who used to present this kind of thing himself. Webb is no doubt a talented guy but he suffers from the same affliction as all funny guys when called upon to present a TV programme; he's not comfortable sitting and listening.

On Saturday afternoon former jockey Willie Carson was sent into the weighing room to interview the jockeys before the Derby. Clearly heartsick that he was no longer competing himself, he struck an uncomfortably chippy note so pronounced that one of his interviewees asked why he was shouting at him.

On Saturday evening former footballer Steve Claridge had the job of anchoring Five Live's football phone-in "606" and experienced such difficulty managing the callers that in the last fifteen minutes of the programme the switchboard was jammed with people having a go at him.

Are we living through an experimental period when nothing is presented by anyone who knows about; a) the subject; b) presentation; c) ideally, both?

Or is this the shape of the BBC to come?