Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kershaw canned by the BBC - again

Today's On The Ropes was to have seen John Humphrys talking to Andy Kershaw. It never happened though, despite there even being a PIP page set up and the programme being trailed.

That summary is interesting, actually:

Andy has enjoyed a highly successful broadcasting career, winning a brace of Sony Radio awards and receiving critical acclaim for his reports from Rwanda, Angola, Haiti and Iraq. However, his outspoken opinions led to him being dropped by Radio One; he openly attacked Bob Geldof over his stance on Africa and in 2007 his personal life began to suffer.

Outspoke opinions led to him being dropped by Radio One? Really? At the time, he might not have gone quietly and had tussled with the network, but it seemed to be more about kicking him out the schedules to make way for more dance DJs. Although I guess that wouldn't really have fitted with the narrative of the programme.

It's a moot point now, anyway, as the programme isn't going to go out. Indeed, the interview was hoiked at the last moment. Mark Damazer appeared at the Radio 4 window to blog an explanation:
It is not often that we remove a programme from the schedule at short notice.

The 'On The Ropes' we had hoped to broadcast this morning in the end did not work. We were mindful of the background and, in particular, the strained domestic circumstances surrounding the break-up of Andy Kershaw's long-term relationship and the legal order, the result of which makes it very difficult for him to have significant access to his children.

We had hoped that we could explore the events leading to his personal and professional crisis and his subsequent efforts to recover while bearing in mind the interests of other parties and providing them with the appropriate degree of privacy. In the end that was not possible. The programme was recorded and edited close to the day of transmission - hence the lateness of the decision.

You have to wonder a little about what went on behind the scenes - was it really impossible to edit the programme leaving out the privacy questions? And if the sheer weight of potentially legally dubious material would have made the interview unsalvageable, any decent production team would have known that long before it got to trailing stage, no matter how late the final cut is delivered.

A lot of people are choosing to call conspiracy, suggesting this is another example of the BBC kicking Andy - although offering a platform to put his side of the story in the first place seems a curious way of going about that.

Commenters have been out in force, complaining...
I can only compare and contrast the way he has been discarded with the BBC's perpetual indulgence of the likes of Jonathan Ross, Chris Moyles et al, whose broadcasting talents are minimal compared to Kershaw's.

This seems to be hugely unfair to Radio 3, in particular, which left the door open for Kershaw's return - unless the complainants think that Kershaw should have been able to continue to broadcast while he was inside, or while he was too ill to do so, or while he was on the run from the police? And, however bad Chris Moyles behaviour might be, it's unlikely the BBC would allow his show to go out if it was going to raise privacy issues for a former partner or children. It's spectacular misfire to compare someone who oversteps the bounds of taste and deceny with a person whose life has fallen apart rendering them incapable, temporarily, of holding down any regular job.