Archive for the 'TV' Category

Road Rage — BBC ‘Docutainment’

This is quite entertaining: the BBC’s Road Rage documentary which was originally screened earlier this month. It does, however, make everyone in London look a little bonkers (or worse). My favourite clip is the bit where the lady from Hampstead is arguing with a parking attendant and tells him that if she gets too many parking tickets her husband might get upset and dock her clothes money!

Of course the programme does actually raise some serious issues regarding the state of transport (public and private) in Britain in general, and especially in London. Although there’s rightly much attention on the recent spate of gang killings in the city I still believe sorting out London’s transport mess should be the number one priority for the Mayoral candidates.

It all came sharply in focus for me yesterday morning. As I was cycling past the roundabout outside Waterloo station I saw a driver get out of his white van and engage in fist-i-cuffs with a cyclist. (Not sure who was at fault as I didn’t really notice them until they started fighting and I had a train to catch so didn’t stop.)

First Mayoral TV "debate"

ITV has a Thursday evening political discussion programme called London Talking. I’d actually never heard of it until yesterday when I read in the paper that Ken and Boris would be having a bit of spat at each other and decided to tune in for entertainment value. In the end it wasn’t actually that entertaining.

The show consisted of the Mayoral candidates from each of the three main parties taking part in a (recorded) debate. Each brought along about a dozen supporters to provide heckling and inane questions (there was no other studio audience). I recognised a couple of faces: all warped politicos . Interestingly, and in contrast to the other parties, the most prominently seated Boris supporters were black and asian: I wonder if this was a conscious effort to counter allegations of their man’s racism? The Tory supporters were the noisiest and ill-disciplined. The Labour supporters all looked quite smug and smarmy as if they had a God-given right to rule London. The Lib Dems just looked wet. Children’s TV presenter Konnie Haq was in the chair but no-one seemed to pay any attention to her.

Brian Paddick for the Lib Dems didn’t really say much of any inspirational value. He highlighted a couple of things where he disagreed with Ken’s policies but wasn’t able to give coherent thought-out alternatives.  My respect for him was also greatly reduced by his obsession with attacking Ken over the increase in police officers in London which Paddick seemed to think was a "waste of money".

Ken was somewhat dull was assured, coming across as a safe pair of hands who was quietly getting on with the job. He did seem bereft of fresh ideas and seemed particularly barren when asked what could be done about the spate of gang shootings in London. Nevertheless he certainly come across as the best out of the three.

Boris was full of his usual bluster but didn’t really seem to say anything other than he was going to try to come up with some policies before May.

Hardly an inspiring contest. Boris or Paddick (or even Ken) might yet actually be able to come up with some new and inspirational policies. Yet, I can’t help but think they are all leaving it a bit late. Looks like I’ll be voting for Ken unless a strong independent candidate emerges.

As for the show itself, I don’t know how representative this "special programme" was. Nevertheless it displayed all the kind of seriousness you would expect to command by a political programme on ITV fronted by a Blue Peter presenter. I shalln’t be watching again any time soon.


I was flicking through Bill Clinton’s autobiography when my eyes just happened to gaze over the final paragraph, describing the moments just after George W. Bush had been inaugurated in sucession to him.

Within an hour, the peaceful transfer of power that has kept our country free for more than two hundred years had taken place again. My family said good-bye to the new First Family and drove to Andrews Air Force Base for our last flight on the presidential plane that was no longer Air Force One for me. After eight years as President, and half a lifetime in politics, I was a private citizen again, but a very grateful one, still pulling for my country, still thinking about tomorrow.

How very much like the ending of a certain television series!

BBC’s This Week now online

The BBC’s award-winning political analysis programme, This Week is now available for online viewing. Fantastic!