Hug a white van man, BBC editor tells reporters
Monday 04 December 2006
The BBC has for too long been obsessed with pandering to "white middle-class liberals in London" at the expense of working class right-wingers in the country.
Not Pandora's view - but that of the BBC's head of television news, Peter Horrocks, who says that the corporation's reporting from the "safe centre" ground is making it irrelevant to vast swathes of the British public. Expect more stories on rubbish collection, gun crime, rising unemployment and immigration.
"We haven't reflected the public on views on Europe, views on immigration, views to do with the white working-class. These haven't been covered enough," he told Pandora on Friday night. "There is a valid criticism of the BBC that it has appeared to be concerned with metropolitan, chattering, right-thinking people. We have to start reflecting the range of views in British society.
"People have the internet and all the different views there. The BBC is a public service broadcaster; it should reflect that. At the very extremes this might mean talking to the Taliban and to the BNP."
Horrocks added that minorities were not well represented. "We are not talking about a small change [in BBC policy] here. People will be offended by the views they disagree with. We are asking for tolerance from the public. The alternative is a load of bland views in the middle of public opinion that don't affect anyone."
A harsh indictment of the Beeb's old news philosophy. Or perhaps a brave step into the future.
Watch out, kids, it's the Borismobile!
Boris Johnson is certainly prone to gaffes, but is four and a half tons of steel cage and sealed, inch-thick windows necessary?
One of the Tory higher education spokesman's moonlighting gigs is as car reviewer for GQ. His latest write-up in this Thursday's magazine sees him take an armoured Range Rover for a whirl (before shooting it with an air rifle).
One of the motor's anti-assassination features is a public address system, "for negotiating with Kalashnikov-toting militiamen at a roadblock".
Writes Bozza: "As I drove one of the children to school we had great fun. Whenever we saw a bunch of kids at a bus stop we would hail them, making sure to use our best Robocop accents. We would say, 'You there!' and would continue, as the poor kids flinched and stared around: 'Be good today! Work hard and achieve more.'"
Didn't go down too well with the environmental types in Islington.
Kate gets provocative
Kate Moss has a book coming out. Not, sadly, the "autobiography" for which Richard Branson was reportedly willing to pay her £1m earlier this year.
Instead, the model will do a few lines for a picture book, writing a foreword to go with photographs of her in scanties from Agent Provocateur.
Published by Anova in April, The Four Dreams of Miss X will basically be the coffee-table tome of her fruity online advertising for the erotic lingerie emporium. The title, cover price £25, will also include a DVD of the four Mike Figgis-directed films.
Agent Provocateur is having to be diplomatic with Moss's camp, after an alleged recent fallout between the two, and would comment only that it hoped to make an official announcement "in the next few weeks".
An extraordinary reaction from readers over the Radio 4 broadcaster Simon Fanshawe's request that his friends pay £35 to come to his birthday party - and his subsequent salvo of profanities directed at Pandora.
Others reported similar experiences, and the Simon Fanshawe Charity Swearbox (£5 a cuss) currently contains £40.
I hear "four-letter Fanny" is standing unopposed as chair of the governing body at Sussex University.
"We are voting on 15 December," writes a member. "Effing and blinding aren't the done thing in Chamber, so conservative members may have a surprise." Should spice up funding talks!
Writes another acquaintance: "I just got back from a meeting with my builders. They wanted 3 per cent of the value just for a quote, so I told them to 'Fanshawe off'."
I can't get a woman, wails Humphrys
We return to Mastermind's desperate search for women contestants for the next quiz series, to offset the proliferation of male anorak-wearers. Host John Humphrys writes to Pandora: "We want a female winner!" (There hasn't been one since he began presenting.)
"Dig deep on this one," he instructs. "Can it be that women know less than men? Perish the thought! Can it be that they can't stand the pressure when they're against the clock? Unlikely. Can it be that they're actually more thoughtful than men because they struggle for the right answer when men will instantly snap 'Pass!' and move on to the next question?
"You want to know what I think? I think I'd be insane to venture an opinion." Just the sort of evasive answer that would usually have Humphrys strapping on the knuckledusters ...
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30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now
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