Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Peston vs Mair - now that's a contest worth hearing

Back in the good old days, before the world economy went into
meltdown, business reporting used to be a straightforward affair: a
correspondent would come on the radio, tell us whether the FTSE was
up or down, and we could move to important matters like the sports
news.

Now, however, business is more like show business. It's all people want to know. Am I going to have a job? Will I be able to pay my mortgage? And will Greece still be there for my summer holiday? It follows, therefore, that reporting on the business world has become a lot more ... let's say, colourful.

Robert Peston is one of the BBC's most ubiquitous figures, and when he takes to the airwaves, the halting rhythm of his speech sounding like an old car struggling to get into second gear, he is instantly recognisable. A cult has grown up around him, partly, it has to be said, fuelled by the man himself.

His popularity has, it seems, become the source of a certain irritation among his BBC colleagues. Clearly jealous of Peston's dark, brooding good looks, and covetous of his well-placed sources, political editor Nick Robinson has told of a "bitter rivalry" between the two men.

And now news reaches us of another on-air spat, between Peston and Eddie Mair, presenter of Radio 4's PM programme. At this point, I have to declare my colours. I think Eddie Mair is the best broadcaster in Britain, with the firmness of Humphrys, the persistence of Paxman, and the good manners of Marr. Plus, he's funny. When introducing government paymaster Geoffrey Robinson, he said: "He was once voted after-dinner speaker of the year, so if you've had your tea, you're in for a treat." With deadly assurance, he cuts the grandiose down to size. Which is why you might think that Peston wouldn't be his cup of tea.

"So lovely to hear your voice again, Robert," he'd say, typically, at the conclusion of the business editor's report, the sarcasm dripping off his mic. And, this week, Peston hit back, asking Mair: "Why did you cast me into the wilderness again? I thought we'd had the rapprochement." "Well, we have to press on," replied Mair. "Thank you." And with that Peston was silenced.

This is not the first time that listeners of PM have been treated to a spot of internecine verbal sparring. "Oh Robert, I've let you down and I'd like to apologise," Mair said when upbraided for taking more notice of newspaper reports than Peston's dispatches. Naturally, the Beeb are playing down reports of a rift, saying it's just "friendly banter". But aren't they missing a trick here? Surely, they should be milking it for all it's worth. Apart from anything else, it's one way of making post-neo-classical endogenous growth theory come alive.

i@independent.co.uk

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us