Why invite a guest onto a show and then not allow them to speak?

Mr B and I caught Watchdog on the BBC recently and both remarked how pointless it was for Anne Robinson to “interview” anybody.    All she does is talk over invited guests.   She was putting questions to a top bod at British Gas over claims engineers are condemning boilers that don’t need to be, possibly as they are on commission for sales of new boilers.    The poor guest had no chance to put his point across and dispute these claims as Ms Robinson just wouldn’t shut up.

I had a conversation with the lovely Mr B Sr last week who has heard this becoming a more frequent practice on Radio 4.   So I asked Mr B Sr to do a guest blog post.

Starting back in the golden years when Brian Redhead reigned supreme I’ve been a big fan of the “Today” programme but the present performers are spoiling my enjoyment to an ever increasing degree. They could be under pressure from the producer to cram more items in or it could be that their in-built rudeness is shining through but either way I’m not enjoying listening as much as I used to. Discussion on important topics is often cut off abruptly just as we are reaching the vital ‘cross-roads’ because “we have run out of time!”

At least once a week it seems we have just too many people near the microphone and interesting and potentially useful discussions degenerate into near-total cacophony with everyone talking at once and the poor customer – me – unable to make out what points are being made. It can end up with SM or JH having the last word – their own opinion – with the “guests’s” views being effectively suppressed. That’s not what we want!

Another situation that irks is when a guest is sufficiently cavalier to actually try to answer the question that was put and is interrupted by supplementaries that are rammed in as though struck by a mallet! The whole purpose of the guest being there – so we can hear a view – is denied us through repeated interventions so that the Today presenter can get at what he/she wants the poor old guest to say. Not good and, frankly, I’m surprised they manage to get anyone to appear on the programme. Hey ho!
Is it because the presenters of these shows are now becoming a little too big for their boots perhaps?  Or do they just like the sound of their own voices?
What do you think?

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  • If you’d listened this morning to the Today programme you would have heard John Humphrys and Ken Clarke MP at it again. So childish!