Monday, October 27, 2014

"Look, mush, you asked to be on this TV programme. Don't get coy about it."

During his interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News Richard Ayoade referred to an earlier interview with Quentin Tarantino and said the elephant in the room was the film-maker's insistence that he had a right to have his film plugged on the TV in return for turning up.

He was right, of course, but he'd have been even more right if he'd said that the real elephant in the room during his own appearance before the C4 cameras was the PR who was presumably watching a few feet away. It was the PR who had called the producer at C4 News and said "I can deliver Richard Ayoade". It was the producer who thought "whoopee, that would be just the ticket between Syria and UKIP". It was Krishnan Guru-Murthy who thought, "Oh, that would be fun". It was Richard Ayoade who thought, "Oh, well, I've got to plug my book and there are worse places to do it than this". And it was Richard Ayoade who had signed the deal with the publisher which required him to make his best efforts to promote it on the TV.

I've endured sticky times interviewing people on radio and TV, people who made it clear that they didn't want to be there. The temptation to say, "Look, mush, you have paid a PR to have got you on this programme and would presumably feel no compunction about bollocking them if they hadn't been able to make it happen, therefore it seems only right that you should stop acting like a member of the public unaccountably harassed while going about their daily business and just do something to make the next few minutes entertaining and interesting for the people who have tuned in."

If what we read about the atomising of broadcast news is true then this won't be a problem for Richard or anyone else much longer. Authors get on magazine programmes because they're free filler. When the programmes are gone there'll be nothing to pretend not to cooperate with.


  1. "just do something to make the next few minutes entertaining and interesting for the people who have tuned in"

    Well I thought it was one of the most entertaining and interesting interviews I've seen for a while.

    Both parties seemed to be equally committed to making it a non-interview.

    KGM surely wasn't expecting straight answers from questions like "Do you think there should be more Norwegians on British TV?".

  2. "Make the next few minutes entertaining and interesting for the people who have tuned in."

    Perhaps by being cocky and "unco-operative", perhaps even having a bit of a dig at a format (and a presenter) that your core audience see through – and thereby getting twice the follow-up coverage, in discussions like this, a huge YouTube audience and a bunch of Tweets - resulting in a great deal more attention and support from a knowing core audience than you would ever have done by co-operating in the first place.

    Oh, and thereby selling more books, and keeping you and your PR happy.

  3. Spike Milligan could play the 'I have nothing say card' but Richard Ayoade can't. I believe that his directorial debut film 'Submarine' was well received; did he go into total 'lockdown' before its release?

  4. I think you have got hold of the wrong end of the stick there. The whole thing was an elaborate conceit between the two of them, with KGM trying gamely to play along. Typical RA 'humour', and not in the least difficult or awkward. Not hugely funny, but not deliberately obtuse, as you seem to suggest.