Of glottal stops and contrived mateyness

INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY readers continue to write in with their own scrutiny of a dumb week in the media.

John Humphrys, who last week accused the revamped Six o'clock News of preferring style over substance, comes in for some criticism himself. Susan Parkin of Warton, Preston, writes of the Today programme: "At that time of day, I want straight information and comment and not John Humphrys' attempts at jocular intercourse with the business/sports/weather person in the studio. Aargh!"

Cristoir White of Darlington said: "As a 30-something who has grown up with TV, I am in complete agreement with those who claim TV is becoming a national disgrace.

"How is it that the BBC in my lifetime has stooped to the lowly status of an 'open-on-a-Sunday retail park' retching up a series of inane programmes for those who are obviously unable to cook, garden, decorate, raise children, debate or have a functional life without the 'advice' of the so-called 'experts'?"

Mr Cooper from Helensburgh, sent a few of his radio hates, including unnecessary scene setting: "'Moo moo bleat bleat cock-a-doodle-doo - here we are on a farm.'"

Actor/writer Robert Vahey, of Brighton, said: "I am heartily sick of the dreaded glottal stop, the mania for regional accents, and the appalling contrived mateyness of far too many who work in the industry. And that is only the presenters."

DA Bridger of Cheltenham writes to lament the replacement of Ed Stewart ("pleasant, undemanding, comfortable") by Steve Wright ("complete mindless drivel") on Radio 2.

Alun Williams, a librarian in Anglesey, said dumbing down was so all pervasive that he almost did not know where to begin. He tried. "TV comedy: Seems to me these days that a sitcom's humour rating is linked directly to the use of the word 'shag'.

"Well, are things really this bad, or am I, at 44 years of age, a premature version of Victor Meldrew? Time was that television was an edifying medium. Now it seems to be pandering to the lowest common denominator."