A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Iain Dale answered Any Questions?

I've listened to Any Questions? ever since Freddie Grisewood did the questioning. "What do we think of the troubles in the world? Bob - Bob Boothby, any ideas?" "Well, FREDDIE (Boom - boom!)" and the show got off to a rollicking start. There were characters like Mary Stocks (who once likened modern day Egyptians to a "degenerate race"), Lady Violet Bonham Carter ("When I was a gel"), Russell Braddon, giving us forthright Aussie opinions, Ralph Wightman, Ted Leather, et al. It was jolly days indeed!

Iain Dale, the bloggers' blogger, at least in the British dimension, was on last night. Apparently nervous beforehand (who wouldn't be?), he got the audience on side with some weak jokes and self-deprecating comments. All Any Questions? audiences require a good dose of both! He obliged them well.

The meal beforehand, where the host entertains, is an enduring part of BBC Radio practice. Most radio hosts did in the past, I'm not sure if most do now. Roy Plomley used to take his Desert Island castaway out to a slap-up lunch (with vino), then back to the record library to make the final selection, then a relaxed recording! All very civilised. Whether modern day castaways get the same, I do not know.

Any Questions? was always very civilised. Some of the best editions have been when politicians were not on the panel. Politically aware contributors, yes, but MPs, no. Iain Dale's real test comes with Any Answers? That's when "Cyril from Beckenham" will tell him if he spoke well or it was all tosh. Now that it's no longer letters a week old, each panellist gets it from the listener as is!

Iain says "I left at around 9.30pm to drive back to Kent. Much of the journey was spent thinking about how I could have done better, but also wondering if I had hogged it a bit. Sometimes saying less is more. Hopefully I did well enough to be invited back. Time will tell!" All I can say is that Boothby hogged it all mostly, and he was asked back many times. The Any Questions? radio audience likes "characters" more than anything else!


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