Monday, November 05, 2007

The return of (one of the) Kershaws

Liz Kershaw is interviewed in the Media Section of the Guardian today, marking her return to 6Music after the made-up contestants that appeared on her show:

"If you can't be there 'live', you pre-record shows sometimes," she explains. "So when it came to the competitions [when the show was not going out live], the production staff would organise someone to come on the phone as the winner. I didn't know who they were, but I knew they weren't real listeners. We were simply reproducing a show that was really popular and our motive was that our audience would get exactly what they would get normally if the shows had been live."

The paper doesn't press her on how, exactly, it's better for listeners to be encouraged to phone in to a programme team who had long since slung their hooks, than to simply be treated like adults and told the programme is on tape. It does, however, ask her how she feels that she's been given a new job on 6Music while her producer, Leona McCambridge, got the push:
"Me and Leona have spoken to each other on a daily basis. I think I'm a woman of principle and help people and support them in their hour of need. I wouldn't dump on somebody from a great height and say 'Well I'm alright, pal'. I'm heartbroken for Leona. She's the best music producer I've ever had. She neither initiated nor formulated any of this."

So is she saying she should not have been sacked?

"I daren't comment on that," she says pointedly. "I wish I could say more. But I'm a freelance presenter and I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds."

Which is fair enough - who would willingly talk themselves out of a job - but you can't always, simultaneously be a "woman of principle" and "not bite the hand that feeds." It's also questionable exactly what principles were in play when pretending to listeners that it's worthwhile phoning in to a prerecorded show, of course.

Set against, say, Ant and Dec's fleecing of hundreds of thousands of pounds from their viewers (oh, sorry, they were merely "vanity" executive producers, weren't they?), the Liz Kershaw affair was more a misguided botch than a deliberate con, and it's refreshing that - unlike many other people at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 who have been caught bodging, lying and conning this year - Kershaw admits she screwed up and accepts she was in the wrong.

It's just curious that once again the can is being carried by the off-air team and the presenter merely gets a reshuffle. You wonder if the daily calls and "bear-hug" from Jenny Abramsky mentioned in the article might give a clue as to why Kershaw is on 6Music again, and Cambridge is on the job market. It's never what you know, but who likes you.


Anonymous said...

Just a small point for the sake of accuracy - nobody ever, ever, called into this show. Or probably any other on 6 music. Competition entry has always been by e-mail or text.

Oooh and another - ishagf00tt's McCambridge.

Anonymous said...

erm - sorry about the ill-timed sneeze.

simon h b said...

Perhaps someone should tell Liz that nobody called the show:

"the production staff would organise someone to come on the phone as the winner"

Anonymous said...

They weren't phoning in. On a normal week the winner of the grand prize (of a CD of Crowded House out-takes or perhaps a t-shirt donated by him out of The The) would, having entered on-line, be called to claim his prize. That's my point, no-one was ringing premium rate Mcpartlines in order to compete. Fakery's wrong alright but this was never a "phone-in competition" as it seems to be consistently reported.

simon h b said...

Anon - I see what you mean. And, yes, nobody lost *large* sums of money. But sending texts still costs - and even sending an email takes time. Perhaps "calling in" is the wrong phrase - "contacting" might be better.

Certainly, though: much, much less egregious than anything that ITV got up to.

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