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.


  1. Anonymous12:14 pm

    There are no stars on the BBC, just news.

  2. In this day of wide screen tellies, perhaps they need a third person to fill the screen?

  3. Not sure. I kind of like TV where you can see the nuts and bolts.

  4. Anonymous1:50 pm

    I heard you talking about this on the Word podcast and so have just watched this week's episode, having not realised this was on.

    Part of me agrees with you totally - as a linguist and Russian graduate, I cringe when I see anyone on TV doing the whole 'talk loudly and slowly', hoping that a foreigner will understand them.

    However, even on the BBC, the programme wouldn't have been made without Dimbleby presenting. And his knowledge and enthusiasm for the country and the literature, which is the heartbeat of the country still (even in among the poor), does lend something to the programme.

    I'm going to set a Sky+ link tonight for the rest of the series.

    Oh, and by the by, Russian is a tough language to learn and I think it would be even worse if Dimbelby (or whoever) could only speak fractured Russian, rather than not trying at all.