Friday, February 4, 2011

The moving question

Interesting to read via Better Nation of the stooshie over the plan to move the production of Question Time from London to Glasgow - and could there be a more deliciously ironic choice of location given the notorious events of a few months ago? Of course this is merely about a - slightly - fairer geographical division of resources and jobs behind the scenes, and needn't automatically lead to any reversal of the Neanderthal on-screen presumption that the "UK agenda" is whatever looks important to people living in London. However, the departure of the programme's editor may be the first sign that this move has at least a chance of leading indirectly to positive change - ie. the sort of person who can actually bear to work in Glasgow (regardless of where in the UK they come from originally) may also be the sort of person more likely to recognise the legitimacy of broader perspectives. I won't be holding my breath, mind.

One thing that made me laugh in the Guardian news story that Jeff Breslin links to is this comment about The Review Show, which made a similar move to Glasgow not so long ago -

"It emerged last year many guests were being flown from London to Glasgow at huge cost to licence-fee payers."

Tell me, does no "expert" on the arts that might realistically appear on a show like that live anywhere other than London? Was nobody ever flown down from Scotland or the north of England at "huge cost to licence fee payers" during the programme's former life - or was the attitude that if people were silly enough to live several hundred miles away from the acknowledged centre of the universe, they were by definition ruling themselves out of any possibility of appearing on "national" television?


  1. And if, as reported, the move pushes Dimblebore out then cups would run over.

  2. As long, Richard, as he is not replaced by Kirty Warped.

    It seems that as the programme moves around from place to place, it matters very little to guests where the production facilities/office is.

    The staff are saying that they need to be in London at the heart of the political world (according to the Guardian). It’s not the heart of the political world for me. If there is such a thing as the heart of the political ‘world’ then surely, for the time being at least, it is Washington/New York.

    But I fail to see in these days of instant communication and video conferencing that it matters whether the base for the programme is in Westminster, Glasgow or Santa Fe.

    What, of course, the lovies who work on the programme mean is that they don’t want to be far away from the centre of the known universe when it comes to 5 o’clock. “My God, dahling, a veritable cultural desert if one doesn’t enjoy deep fried mars bars”, from people who’ve probably never been north of Watford.

    Dumblebore, of course, is an over petted little prima donna, of little talent, who is only there because his father did the coronation with suitable gravitas back in 1953.

  3. I'm more ambivalent about Dimbleby - he's quite likeable in a way, but it's increasingly clear that he has an attitude problem about Scotland (and probably just about every other part of the UK outside the southeast).

  4. I was never over fond of him. I met him a few years ago when they were doing QT from Dundee, and I've rarely met a more "pleased with himself" and "I'm a star" kind of guy.

    I gave up on him on him completely when he called out the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, for an answer she gave about Scotland, in Scotland pointing out to her that this was a national tv programme. I've yet to hear him point out to any English politician that a discussion on the health service, law and order, or education is not allowed because these departments are English only.