Jeremy Vine hosts the weekly round up of audience feedback on BBC TV.
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Good afternoon and welcome to Points Of View.
At some point in this programme,
I may disappear and then come back again.
Well, if MasterChef can do it, so can I!
MasterChef's magic centres on the celebrity contestant Linda Lusardi
who was knocked out of the competition last week
and then miraculously reappeared,
much to the confusion of legions of fans.
Oh, honestly, Eric, it is quite simple.
Having invested in celebrities,
MasterChef is getting the most for its money
by making daytime episodes as well
in much the same way as Strictly Come Dancing - It Takes Two
except the MasterCheffers are mostly whisking instead of twirling.
The main weekend show makes use of this extra filming
showing clips of what's been happening during the week,
only they focus on action round the hotplate and not the high lifts.
But unlike Strictly, the elimination occurs in the daytime,
so if you watch everything, it is possible
to have witnessed the departure of a failed celebrity chef in the day
only to spot them once more slaving over a hot cooker on Friday night.
This is why Linda, who was voted out on Thursday,
didn't appear on the early afternoon episode on Friday,
but did then appear in the evening programme
and the Saturday catch-up episode.
And one more thing - the celebrities are grouped together in rounds
and once one round is over, you won't see even those still in
until the finals at the end.
So it might mean value for money for MasterChef,
but we can see where the confusion arises.
Another big daytime show, Escape To The Country,
could do with chasing value for money as well,
according to some viewers, or possibly
stop transmitting altogether during the current housing crisis.
A pool. Wow!
You get hidden extras in this house.
I didn't want just a view.
This is proper leisure house. I'm liking it.
Do you like a pool? Some people are scared off by pools.
-This is a beautiful pool, I think.
-Our nephews would love it.
You'd be so popular!
No, that doesn't really look like your average urban two-bed terrace.
Can Escape To The Country escape the criticism?
Do they have to deploy the media buzz-word "aspirational" to do so?
Across any series, we do have quite a wide spread of house prices
from around £200,000 upwards.
These house prices are set by the contributors,
and it is one of many factors that we look at when we cast the shows.
However, on future series, we will be keeping an eye on the housing market.
Even in the current climate, research shows us that people come to view Escape To The Country
for lots of different reasons. Some like to look at the beautiful homes
and countryside or learn about rural life,
so the programme still has a place.
Well, she didn't say "aspirational", but I think she meant it.
Now, stand by your beds!
There's been an upsurge of interest in the armed forces across the BBC.
Someone at the top clearly likes a man in uniform,
or in the case of Casualty, a female army medic.
Here's a roll call of current military output.
The latest recruit to Saturday night accident & emergency is
Major Sam Nicholls, a former army doctor.
On BBC3, Young Soldiers has been following new army recruits
from sign-up and training camp
through to active duty in Afghanistan.
And on BBC4 the Regimental Stories season has documentaries on
the Forces and aired a fly-on-the-wall look
at Sandhurst at the famous officer training college.
So is the BBC's current military mania passing muster with viewers?
Entry to Sandhurst relies on passing a very rigorous interview.
The kind of interview you see happening
all the time in the BBC's current affairs programmes.
But when does a rigorous interview turn into an aggressive one?
And are those still welcome or painfully out of fashion?
Do you know how they died? Friendly fire, that's how!
I'm interviewing you cos you were involved.
-Which one would you like me to answer?
-It's not whether you want to be in or out of Europe.
I want you to say whether you think there should be a referendum!
So you don't trust the voters to give their opinion?
-Well that is the question.
-Is printing money a solution, is it or isn't it?
Look, you signed up to this report, can you please tell us
what you meant by talking about the provision
of culturally appropriate accommodation. What is it?!
Jeremy Paxman's dry, acerbic interview style has seen him
rise to near national treasuredom.
But some viewers think his recent performances on Newsnight have overstepped the mark.
It's terribly frightening listening to that idiot in Brussels.
Er, Mr Idiot in Brussels, would you like to respond?
-Yes or no?!
-The question of...
-Should we have joined the euro as you advocated, yes or no?
-The question I asked was if you still think it'd be a good thing to have joined the euro!
Yes or no?!
Of course individual editors are responsible for these programmes,
their presenters and their interviewing styles,
but Stephen Mitchell handles big editorial issues for BBC News,
so he is well-placed to notice changes.
I expect our interviewers to get to the truth
and to paint as clear a picture as possible on behalf of the audience
and sometimes robustness works and sometimes you don't need to be
robust and actually sometimes you have to step back a bit
and let people have a bit more space.
I certainly can't detect an overall increase in aggressiveness,
robustness or anything like that.
So what kind of training are interviewers
and presenters receiving?
There's no one standard training scheme that we would submit everyone to.
Some people who are coming to the job new from perhaps being
reporters or something are given some training.
Some people need training in techniques that apply to specific programmes.
And some people, the more experienced people have learnt through
the university of life and that's their training.
And I would encourage people, if they have anxieties or concerns about
individual programmes or individual interviews, to contact the programmes.
I can assure you that we do talk about these things all the time
and those conversations always involve the presenters and the interviewers.
Swings and roundabouts?
So if we look at all of the BBC's output
we will apparently see that the interviewing styles even out.
Whichever way you look at petrol prices, I think most motorists
would agree that they are very high at the moment,
and Panorama aired an exclusive investigation
into the organised crime that the high prices have now triggered,
The Great Fuel Robbery.
In the last two years, the cost of petrol
and diesel has risen by around a third,
and 60% of the price that we pay at the pump is tax.
Such are the profits to be had from avoiding this duty, that there
now exists a whole new level of organised crime.
There is no end of depressing economic news.
House prices, fuel prices, you name it.
So how about a little light relief in the form of music or dancing?
Well, not Strictly Come Dancing cos that apparently is
more about celebrities than the arts, according to viewer
David Ride who makes the case that the BBC has given up on the high ground.
I thought that maybe a little prompt would be in order to try
and get the BBC off this cultural bias track they seem to have.
I would like to see, on the BBC, more regular
performances of classical ballets, and grand operas and they could take
the opportunity to screen some of the amateur productions that are on.
First-quality amateur productions all round the country.
I was watching a BBC news broadcast
and they were very keen on reporting on a Gilbert and Sullivan
festival that was held in Buxton in Derbyshire and how successful it was.
I thought to myself,
"When did the BBC last screen a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta?"
And for those of you thinking, "Hang on a minute, there was
"a very good Gilbert O'Sullivan documentary on BBC4 recently."
We are not talking about the Irish crooner from the '70s,
but the Victorian theatrical partnership of Gilbert AND Sullivan.
SINGS LOW NOTES
There is, out there, a young section of society who are missing out
on these cultural opportunities.
I attend the Salisbury Playhouse here on a regular basis
and frequently a whole row will be taken up by a sixth form
who are studying that particular production and I'm sure
if such opportunities were given to them on BBC1 and channel 2,
they would benefit and everybody else would benefit as well.
Well, perhaps the schedule has spotted the shortfall as well,
David, because next week on BBC4 alone they are celebrating a music hall week
with 6½ hours of variety performances
and backgrounders into theatre heritage.
I hope that's to your taste.
Now Formula One, and for once not the complaint that coverage
skips channels mid-race or even that those spoilsports
on news keep telling you the results before the highlights are broadcast.
No, this is a completely different complaint.
I've had it with Formula One tyre-babble.
It's well-nigh impossible to get more than ten seconds without it.
Let's switch some of the ghastly replay Muzak to drown out
the rubber fetish, and enjoy the racing!
Tyre-wear promises to be a big problem in the race today
so that much of the midfield
are saving their new tyres to give an advantage in the race.
"Tyre-babble." That is a new word to add to the Points Of View lexicon.
So less commentary chit-chat, more action.
And that's all we've got time for this week. Next week I'll be putting your questions to
the BBC's head of science and nature commissioning, Kim Shillinglaw.
The Origins Of Us and Frozen Planet are two new science programmes
on next week, off the top of my head,
so we ought to let her know what you think of those.
You can write to -
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That's all for now, goodbye.
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E-mail [email protected]
Jeremy Vine hosts the weekly round up of audience feedback on BBC TV.
Send comments in by email to [email protected]; by post to Points of View, BBC Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1AY; or telephone 0370 908 3199.