11/12/2013 Newsnight


Ofsted's chief inspector of schools; the cost of energy; the Jimmy Savile scandal; scientology; and one of the stars of Anchorman.

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There are too many schools in England where behaviour is bad and


disruptive. Learning is hampered by teachers who can't keep control, the


Chief Inspector thinks it is time to act. If they are persistently


incompetent, and from school to school to school, yes they should


and be deregistered. How the cost of energy is affecting almost the way


everyone lives. The heating is on for a very short amount of time, we


have extra bedding, we go to bed wearing quite a lot of cloths,


almost as if you are going out for the evening. We talk to the couple


who have Scientology declared a religion. There is Diane from Carson


City. She's my aunt! And the Anchorman's weatherman. Tonight on


Newsnight there will be an awful lot of me, probably too much! First the


good news, schooling in England is getting better. Now the bad, there


are too many children of poorer white families failing to reach


their potential, and there are still far too many classrooms which are


disrupted by low-level bad behaviour. Sir Michael Wilshaw,


Ofsted's Chief Inspector of Schools is planning to launch unannounced


inspections where it seems to be a real problem. He also wants the


Government to reinstate national tests for 7-14-year-olds, cue


predictable outrage from teaching trade unions. For years this school


was failing, now a new headteacher is starting to turn it round. Tag


rugby is just one of the ways children at Dover road Primary


School in Gravesend learn team work and self-discipline. Key to better


behaviour in the class and around the school. The school council were


keen to tell me how buggying used -- bullying used to be rife, how


classes were often disrupted and how it has changed now. I used to get


bullied in class and they used to call me names. Now we have new


teachers they have separated me from the people who call me names. The


teachers understand you if you are upset, you get work done quicker


because they make you happier. In the past when the teachers explained


we still didn't understand and then we never would understand. The new


teachers make it clear. I would wake up and tell my mum an excuse I'm


feeling ill, I don't want to go to school, but now I'm up early and do


all my work and really enjoy it. I'm smarter because of the teachers. And


sometimes like, when I have been doing literacy I have made lots of


mistakes on my handwriting and words, now I'm on to pen and I know


most of the words. It was the local authority, Kent, who sent Catherine


Ward to this school to assess it in January. She ended up staying as the


school's head when Dover road became a sponsored academy last month. .


The number one thing that made the difference for me is, it was an is


the children. The children are delightful, they want to learn, they


are eager to come to school and they were desperate for good learning.


And so that was the fundamental thing and I thought right, that's


what gets me out of bed every day. Ready and enrol, show me your


character again, stop. Most of these pupils are from white British


backgrounds, a high proportion are eligible for free school meals, the


very group Ofsted said today are underachieving in English schools.


The new head has brought in many new teachers and a new culture. For my


first few weeks around the school I noticed there was a lack of respect


for children with each other, a lack of respect for children with some


adults. Different groups of adults as well. And that the manners, the


fundamental manners weren't there for the children. I started


basically saying we are not going to do this more, and we took it back to


the basic manners of how we behave, to 0 please, thank you, opening


doors for each other, taking turns, not jumping the queue, being


responsible for each other, just a fundamental basic good manners. We


only spoke to handful of parents, one was happy with the new


discipline? Just this morning, tucking his shirt into his trousers,


two or three weeks ago he wouldn't have been doing that, he wouldn't


have cared. Now he's coming into school making sure he as smart and


tidy and saying please and thank you. It's just brilliant. Others


said their children were learning more and the school's reputation is


improving? He's gone up a whole level in the last six months. And he


was working at the same level for three years. I think positivity has


really grown within the school and the school's name is changing. The


changes here at Dover Road are what Sir Michael Wilshaw said today he


would like to see across the country, the teaching has improved,


the children's behaviour is much better and they are learning much,


much more. This has to happen everywhere, according to Ofsted, if


we are to compete with the rest of the world. The school is sponsored


by an academy group set up by heads. In the last 12 months, thanks to the


Department of Education, they have quietly taken over more than 20


schools right across the country. We are about cautious growth. The


question is can we help the school, do we understand the challenges it


face, do we have the expertise and capacity in order for us to do. That


the answer for us is we will grow as long as we keep doing the good work


we keep doing it. On a brief visit to this school we found no


opposition to the change in status. Elsewhere parents have fought and


are fighting campaigns to stop their schools becoming sponsored


academies. They worry the schools won't be accountable to the local


community and they want to know more about the groups who are now running


them. Earlier I went to the Ofsted offices in central London to meet


Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw. I


asked him why low standards had been tolerated so long? We need to step


up several gears, if we are going to match the best in the world,


certainly if we are going to match the Asian countries that came top of


the league. We need to accelerate and put our foot down on the


achievement pedal much harder than we have done. That is why in my


report I said a few uncomfortable things. Like we have to stop this


low-level disruption which irritates teachers and makes them think hard


about their jobs. We have something like 1500 teachers from the state


system leaving for the independent sector every year. I suspect if you


talk to them they would say we have gone into the independent sector


because we had enough of this low-level disruption we see in


schools. I have heard teachers and you must have heard teachers say


precisely that, that I just want to work somewhere when you call a class


to order it is quiet. And everyone can get on with their work. I have


heard them say, that you must have heard lots of them say that, why is


it had being tolerated? It is tolerated by poor leadership. I was


a headteacher before joining Ofsted and worked in tough inner city


schools in London. I cracked down hard on poor behaviour. Children go


to school wanting to succeed. It is the environment they go into that


makes the difference. It is the quality of leadership that makes the


difference, it is the quality of teaching they receive and the


culture in the school. And the most important thing in a school is that


leadership. A lot of people don't want to become head teachers aren't


there? We should be optimistic, we have better people coming into the


profession. A lot of them will want to stay there and become head


teachers. It is now a well-paid job in way it wasn't years ago. The


status has gone up. Presumably a lot more should have got rid of? Head


teachers. There are 400,000 teachers in this country, and they are


dismissed from the profession at the rate of 20 a year? I think there is


a story behind that. I think what tends to happen is that head


teachers write nice references for people they want to get rid of,


rather than going through complex difficult Compat Tennessee and dis--


componency and difficult disciplinary procedures, rather than


saying you are not doing well here, I will write you a decent enough


reference and off you go to another school. You have these poor


low-performing teachers, circulating through the system and the old


General Teaching Council did very little about it. So you think they


should be got rid of from the profession all together, rather than


another school to inflict their incompetence? Some of them if they


are persistently incompetent and from school to school to school, yes


they should and they should be deregistered. Do you know how many


there are, roughly? No, when we go into schools and we see a poor or


inadequate lesson and we would mention it to the headteacher. It is


only the headteacher who knows if that teach certificate behaving


poory day after day and month after month and then it is up to the head


teachers to make decisions. Should that system be changed so that


something could be done to weed out bad teachers? Again this is a policy


issue, I know what I would do if I was the Secretary of State. What


would you do? First of all I think it is right to raise the bar and get


good people into the profession, whether they have qualified teacher


status or not. Good people, we need to keep them in there and extend the


probationary period. I think a probationary period of one year is


too short. I think we should have a probationary period of three, four,


five years, and then make a decision whether somebody really is, should


be given qualified teacher status. There are great swathes of this


country where people have very low expectations and there is a culture


of low expectation, households where people don't expect ever to regain


the sort of traditional patterns of work that exists in their


grandparents' days. You really do believe a school can break that


culture of expectation? You can break it I have seen it been broken,


and this pupil premium giving children extra money will give the


money for extension classes in the evening. I made it clear to the


staff in my school that they were surrogate parents for a significant


number of children, and if they wanted to be employed they would


have to work in the evenings and weekends to compensate for the


deficits at home. And that, and they would be paid well for doing that.


And I used the additional funding to enhance their salaries. Melanie


Phillips is a commentator with a long standing interest in education,


Tom Bennett is a secondary school teacher and blogger for the Times


Educational Supplement. Let's take the idea that some how there needs


to be a thinning out of the teaching profession. What do you think about


that? I think as with most professions there is always some bad


eggs because any profession you work in you will find that. What the


problem is I will de-Virgin slightly, it is not that there is so


many bad teachers, it is there is a failure to deal with the issue.


There has been failure for the school system and teacher training


providers to face up to the fact that behaviour was bad. You were


taught how to control a difficult class? No, I was taught very badly,


I'm a prime example, I spent two years at being terrible at


controlling behaviour, I kept my mouth shut to get through my


probation and not get sacked. What do you think? I think in order to


attend to achievement you have to attend to behaviour and it is a


package. It is a problem in the teaching profession, there are


cultural problems in the teaching profession, it is called the soft


bigotry of low expectation. Where white working-class children these


days, it used to be black working-class children written off,


there is a more general problem with the adult world, the adult world has


been terrified of children for many years now. It has decided it has to


make friends of children, and it has to be very casual and informal, we


call them kids. And teachers, I'm sure Tom is an exception, but


teachers very often have trees Deed down, they have been very -- dressed


down, and they have been casual and become like parents, the children's


friends, children don't like that, they want respect. Do you think it


makes a difference what they wear, he should be wearing a tie? It is


the BBC afterall. He has dressed down for the BBC. Children need


respect. One of the things I have often noticed that children who have


come from terrible backgrounds where they have been excluded from school,


they burned down the school and you asked them what was wrong with your


school and they say immediately the teachers didn't treat me with


respect. They didn't expect me to do hard things. They didn't tell me the


rules, they want to be given that kind of set of bound lease, that


makes -- boundaries, that makes them feel accepted. Does that chime with


your experience? I would agree with what you were saying, it was said


that there was a crisis of adult authority in mainly western


authorities. There is definitely a problem there. That has infected the


way in which we have raised our teachers and we have made our


expectations in school sometimes a little bit too low. There are for


instance two schools in every school, there is the school of the


high status professional there for a long time with low timetable, and


there is the supply teacher and occasional teacher and they are two


different schools. You mean the supply teacher and less experienced


teacher finds it hard to control a class? Enormously so. I remember


when there was a report from Dispatches who went in and filmed a


supply teacher and it was appalling. What about what was proposed in the


interview that the probationary period be extended, up to five years


before you can get a permanent job? I do think we need to be a little


bit more stringent with how we pass teachers. Because by the time they


get accepted on to courses there is an enormous pressure on teacher


training providers to pass and certified -- certify them. I don't


think one is ignore the impact of the last few decades, teachers led


up the garden path where teacher training colleges have taught them


unteaching. This small example this idea that a child's self-esteem is


very important, I would personally agree, the idea that in order to


protect the child's self-esteem heaven forbid you give them a


problem they might fail, and you lower the bar all the time. Children


are not stupid and they understand they are treated as more rans and


they -- morans and they behave like that. If you expect they can achieve


more and more they do achieve more and more, it is not rocket science.


The other thing very striking is the way in which we have all seemed to


accept that there will be always a low level of disruption in schools


at some point. You say it is different experience for different


teachers, but it is accepted as a precedent in many schools. Look at


that fantastic school in Gravesend we saw in the report there, that was


really impressive wasn't it. The strategy of it is that just about


any school and any teacher can have great behaviour in in their lessons.


One of the things is many teachers don't know what to do. Often in many


schools there aren't the structures to support teachers who do know what


they are doing. A lot comes down to leadership? Head teachers. It has to


come from them. They need to have leadership from the political class,


the Ofsteds and from the whole sort of culture that supports them in


being proper leaders. I know a lot of teachers who go through teacher


training and have one hour's worth of behaviour management training and


it is so central to great learning. The fact we have learned to ignore


this is absurd. I must say I thought talking to Michael Wilshaw he had


actually had a pretty upbeat picture of many areas of school anything


this country. That it is not all a disaster? According to Ofsted eight


out of ten schools is good or fairly better. It was only recently Ofsted


told us their satisfactory category was unstreet. Frankly --


unsatisfactory, Ofsted have led us up the garden path saying lots of


schools are fine when they are rubbish so I take it with a pinch of


salt. I think Michael Wilshaw talks sense but Ofsted has had a problem


with the framework and the inspectors, it is a political


institution and has to deliver to ministers improvement. It doesn't


necessarily accord with reality. I would rarely qualify any school as


rubbish. There is always variation within every school, pockets of


excellence even with the schools in the most dire circumstances and


situations. I think what Michael Wilshaw is very interesting and


pointing out is that he's going beyond the very averaged out data


that we see from places like Ofsted. Because he as a practitioner


himself, he's wise enough to see that there is a big, big problem,


not necessarily with schools and entire boroughs collapsing, but


certainly there is pockets of problems in just about every school


I would say. Do you find our industry slightly


ludicrous? I think, yes. And I will say that to your face! Now to what


has turned out to be the biggest story in politics this autumn. Every


serious party has had to re-think what it plans to do about the cost


of energy. According to the retiring boss of British Gas it's all a Punch


and Judy show, damaging the poor energy companies. But the reason it


has become such a hot political topic is the cost of keeping warm


has become a matter of anxiety, right across the land, north and


south, poor and those who wouldn't dream of calling themselves rich.


I switched energy companies, cut down my payments on the promise that


the fuel would be cheaper and some how have built up a debt. I'm now


not only paying for what I'm using, but I'm paying for a debt I ran up


last winter. The payments I'm paying now are double. They want them to be


triple. I will be honest with you I'm frightened of putting the


heating on. The amount of heating I would like to keep this house warm


I'm just frightened. My income is ?7200 a year. I spent ?110 a month


on gas and electricity, that nowhere near covers the cost of what I need


to keep warm. The heating is on for a short amount of time every day, we


have extra bedding, we go to bed wearing quite a lot of clothes,


almost as if you are going out for the evening. We haven't really hit


the main winter yet. If it gets much colder I don't know how we go


forward. If you think about you go to a clinic and you have some tests


and they say to you, it's possibly it is cancer, you go, you wait in


fear. And eventually you are diagnosed it is a fairly rare


cancer, cancer of the bone marrow basically. Chemotherapy means that


you are going to change and you will feel the cold like you have never


felt the cold before. And particularly extremities. You can't


quite believe to what extent you need to keep warm. I try to keep


busy because when you are busy you keep warm. But if you sit down in a


cold room after about five or ten minutes you will start to feel very,


very cold. And when it's freezing out there and last winter was


dreadful, if we get the same this winter then I will be cold and cold


a lot. I will deal with it. It is hard to get my head around I will


feel ill, cold and isolated. It is scary time and a sad time for all


the family. I feel for them more than I feel for myself. We are


cutting back on everything, there is no basic activities back on the


running costs. After the children go to bed I don't have the heating on


any more. You get cold? Yes. Do you wish mum would put the heating on a


bit more? Yes. But normally we would have to put a blanket round


ourselves. Do you understand why you can't have the heating on? We just


can't because it is too much money to pay. I do understand they have to


make some profit, because they have to keep our lights and our gas, they


have got to do that we have to have the lights and everything on. I


understand that, but do they need all these vast profits? We all need


fuel. So we don't really have a choice. We can cut it down and


cutback and wear more clothes and we can try whatever tricks we want to


keep warm, but we all essentially need it. Basically they are screwing


us for something we need Cancer comes with a lot of fear, to sit at


home feeling in pain and fear will you butt also freezing cold. I


almost feel guilty I can afford the heat, I have never known a time like


this, I'm 73 years old, I have never known a time when it is so in your


face that how this poverty that how this fuel poverty is affecting


everyone. What is it like to sit there with no food in the house or


heating, and decide whether or not to heat. It must be dreadful. If


they are saying that 31,000 people in this country will die of cold in


the winter, is it right that should happen. We're supposed to be a


wealthy country aren't we? The BBC's latest attempt to restore public


confidence was to announce today that it's reforming its management


structure. The corporation's chairman said that faith in the


nation's biggest cultural institution had been rattled, more


rattlement in the release on-line of a recording of the man who conducted


the investigation into who knew what when in the Jimmy Savile scandal.


The corporation welcomes this as much as you would welcome you


stepped in dog Poe on the way to be made a member of the Order of Merit.


It is a complicated story and one of the few men in England who can


unravel it is with me here. The Pollard inquiry was called to look


into the widespread belief, or suspicion that the Newsnight Savile


investigation, which was canned, might have been stopped because of


overriding corporate interests in the Christmas schedule, the tribute


programmes to Savile, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. In fairness


Pollard concluded very clearly that there was no such conspiracy, and I


should say at the outset. Nothing in what I'm going to say should be


taken to mean that conclusion was drawn into question, it hasn't been.


Interestingly there was an awful lot of stuff in the Pollard report about


who knew what when. Mark Thompson, the Director General at the time,


maintained throughout although he was told, there had been an


investigation to Jimmy Savile by Newsnight which was stopped, he was


never told he, he maintained of the nature of it. He was never told it


was about sexual abuse. You are about to hear a tape where Poland,


who did the report, confirms to a journalist last February that he had


received a letter there are Helen Boden, the director of news at the


time, that is her picture there, a letter from her saying that she had


in fact had a conversation with Thomson where she had told him that


the investigation was about sexual abuse. So you will hear him


decribing this to the journalist. Also interesting to listen, it is


clear Pollard, the author of a ?3 million report, a public interest


inquiry is choosing to try to correct the record by speaking to a


journalist off the record. It puts you in a position where Helen Boden


did tell the Pollard inquiry that she told Mark Thompson the nature of


the allegations. I think it puts you in the position where you can't say


in print how you know this, but you are watertight on the fact that is


the case. There is Pollard confirming to the journalist there


was this note from Helen Boden's lawyers, and he goes on to say he


personally greats not having included any reference to this


letter from the lawyers in the final report. It is a slightly awkward


position for me it is something if I had thought about it immediately


before publication and picked up on the significance of it, I think I


would probably have put it in the report. That is slightly


embarrassing, what are the BBC saying? Four trustees today listened


to the tape recordings about five minutes long they listened to. They


conclude and said while the trustee...


They might have thought it would be preferable if Pollard told them the


report was wrong before a journalist. What are the questions


raised for this? For Poland why didn't he include it in the first


place. It doesn't go to the principal underlying conclusion,


nothing suggests a conspiracy. All the events, the conversation between


Boden and Thomson, if such there was, and if what was said what Boden


claims, by Thomson denies, or denies having recollection of it, this all


happened after the Newsnight programme had already been canned.


None of it predated it all happened afterwards, and it doesn't relate to


the underlying thing. There are questions for Pollard, why didn't he


include it. Secondly he still maintains and the BBC still maintain


that Pollard's report is essentially correct, when he said he had no


reason to question Thomson's version of events. Whether Boden is correct


or not, the mere fact of the letter to the lawyers was she told him it


was about sexual abuse, which Thomson still denies, must raise a


doubt about Thomson's version of events. The other question for him


is what is he doing talking to a journalist about it, for the BBC,


this goes on forever. The first article based on the conversation


was published last February, nobody appears to have noticed. The MPs'


letters from rod Wilson Tory MP certainly since August, transcript


sent to the Trust in September, a recording in November. Here we are


mid-December, finally they get round to sorting it out. A another


question that sits there both Thomson and Boden can't be both


right. It is not the main conclusion but it is a question. Has the


journalist to whom Pollard spoke to said anything? We spoke to him


today, and I put it to him that nothing in what he had discovered


whatever else he said, he maintains there are important questions to be


asked still, but he did accept this does not upset Pollard's fundamental


conclusion that there was no corporate conspiracy. That is true


but he still had the ability to ask questions about what the


investigation entailed and who they had spoken to, and he could have


prevented in theory the tribute programmes to stop them going out.


As traditionally the case, bad luck follows bad luck, today is when the


BBC announced the result of its governance review, clarity,


accountability and transparency. If this story shows one thing, it may


just be bad luck or it may be that the leopard has yet to change its


spot It doesn't show transparency, that's for sure. It is three decades


since an English judge ruled that Scientology is not a religion but


dangerous cult. Yet today the highest court in the land ruled it


is a religion and therefore a couple can marry in its called chapel. The


organisation founded by a science fiction writer who is said to have


decided that the way to get seriously rich is to start a


religion and is delighted, as doubtless are his disciples, with


the likes of Tom Cruise and others. For a very new fate, Scientology has


traditional ideas about a relationship. But, at its new London


headquarters the church might have its own chapel, its own ministers,


but it has no wedding license. Scientologists have been fighting to


use this place for marriages for some time. Back in 1970 the Court of


Appeal ruled that Scientology services were not an official act of


worship, because they don't involve a recognised God. That clause has


been used by officials to stop this place, or church, as the


Scientologists would describe it to be used for official wedding


ceremonies. Today that changed, the Supreme Court ruled that Louis


Hodkin can matter year her Scientologist boyfriend in that


chapel. Bringing the law in England and Wales in line with the law in


Scotland. The couple plan to tie the knot in spring after an extended


engagment. It is similar to most western marriage ceremonies, we have


a congregation, there is an aisle, she will stand in a white dress, and


we just have our own religious service. But again it is quite


normal, you might say, there is still "I dos" and that sort of thing


in it. In terms of walking up the aisle? Absolutely, bridesmaids


everything. Beginning with the question of whether... Giving his


judgment Lord Toulson said the definition of worship as veneration


of a supreme being was out of date and any attempts to stop


Scientologists marrying in a chapel would amount to religious


discrimination. That is good news for the church after a year of bad


publicity, linked to the split of poster boy Tom Cruise and his wife


Katie Holmes. Critics of Scientology have long argued the religion is


nothing more than a cult based on the work of a science fiction


writer. There will be plenty of people, and you know there will be,


look these two people have been completely brainwashed, that anyone


who believes the human race started 75 million years ago when a


spaceship came to earth, these people cannot be treated seriously


and the fact they are allowed to be married undermines the whole idea of


marriage. What is your reaction to those people? I personally don't


believe that the human race was started when a spaceship came 75


million years ago. That is not Scientologiy teaching? It is not, we


believe man is spirit, that is the simplicity, the soul in most


religions we consider that to be you. I believe I am myself as


spirit, that is actually the essence of Scientology. The church says it


now has 8,600 missions in 165 different countries, with 13 centres


in the UK, including its headquarters in East Grinstead. The


last census shows only 2,418 people identified themselves as


Scientologists in England and Wales. Scientologists are treated


differently in different countries, in America fairly recently it got


tax exempt status, so it is treated as a religion and doesn't pay taxes.


In France and Germany it is different. In German if you are a


Scientologist you can't work for either the state Government or local


Government. You can't even about be a school teacher. In Britain the


Supreme Court's decision today, I think it is still up in the air what


the reprecussions of this will be. How will it affect tax, rates and


all sorts of things, will the Charity Commission make a different


decision about how Scientologists will be treated. I mean this case


was about us getting married, hi to get the church's support, they have


helped us, by west is fantastic, but it is always about the fact we


wanted to get married in our church. You have been backed by the church


through the whole process? How much have they been telling you what to


do how to proceed? It hasn't been the church. Our lawyers, they have


been the ones proceeding with all the legal stuff. You have got some


high-powered lawyers, how are they being paid for? Well, the church is


supporting us in our case. Financially? By paying for your


lawyers? Yeah. And by paying for quite expensive PR people to bring


you in here today? We wanted help because obviously when we got the PR


man came out of the High Court we didn't know what to do, we are just


normal people. Ministers are now worried the ruling will open the


door to greater recognition of Scientology, with talk of the


organisation being able to clawback millions in tax breaks, this might


just be one wedding, but the significance could be far greater


than that. We asked the representative of the Church of


Scientology to join us to discuss today's court ruling but nobody was


available. I am joined from Denver by Mark Headily, who came involved


in the Church of Scientology when he was seven years old. He spent 15


years working at the headquarters in California before turning away from


the organisation and campaigning publicly against it. When you were


in the Scientologists, did you consider it a religion? It is funny


you ask that. In 1953 L Ron Hubbard wrote in a book he did he wrote that


Scientology is not a psychotherapy nor a religion. Throughout the years


that I worked there, I worked there for 15 years at the international


headquarters, it was always a public relations campaign to represent


Scientology as a religion, so that there would be, they could play the


persecution card or they could get a break on the taxes and even L Ron


Hubbard himself in 1962, he wrote "it is entirely a matter for


accountants and solicitors" with regards to them being called a


religion as opposed to a business or clinic. When you were a


Scientologist did you consider it to be a religious experience or a way


of belief? No, for my experience in not only being a member of


Scientology when I was a child to then becoming a member of the elite


organisation called the Corg, which ran Scientology nationally, it


really comes off as a business, it is a money-making business. Even the


headquarters they are referred to as organisations, we never referred to


them as churches I think you have alluded to this already, why is it


that the Scientologists themselves want to have their, whatever it is,


beliefs system, their organisation considered as a religion I think it


is so they can get around the laws or taxes that a normal business has


to adhere to. As soon as you play the religion card you are not paying


taxes or following the same rules as other organisations, you are


basically getting privileges and getting benefits that any other


money-making operation would not get. What's the money for? Well


that's a really good question, I know when I was there in the early


2000s, they built a multimillion dollar mansion for L Ron Hubbard for


him to live in when he returned from wherever he went to have in 1986


when he passed away. They spent tens of millions of dollars on a new


building and new living quarters for the leader, the current leader of


the Scientology movement. He does spent a lot of money on motorcycles


and motor homes and luxury limousines for himself. I'm not sure


besides lavish new buildings that are sitting empty around the world.


I'm not sure what they would be spending the money on besides you


know personal things. Can I ask you very briefly one question, what did


you think when you were a Scientologist, what did you think


would happen to you when you died? Well, they tell you that when you


die you come back again and even for the C-organisation members, we had


to sign one billion-year contracts so that when we died in this


lifetime we would still be on the hook to come back and work for them


the nice lifetime, so that's actually what they commonly believe,


that they will come back again. Thank you. Do you believe what you


see on the news? In Britain television news presenters rightly


take their place at tables somewhere well below the salt. In the United


States they are somewhere between George Washington and Francis of


Assisi, the anchorman's world of hair spray and platitude is ripe for


parody, and few have done it better than Ron Burgandy and his team of


anchormen, among them Steve Carrell. They have been talking to him.


Linda, I want to introduce you to Ron Burgandy. Hello Mr Burgandy. Oh,


black, you're black. I'm terribly sorry I don't know why I can't stop


saying... Black. Is this for real Freddie. Linda I'm sorry. So you


have a black boss, and is it freaking you out. Are you freaked


out? A little bit, to be honest. She has a knife. I think you scared him,


you can't shout at him. Anchormen have provided a rich seam of work


for you, why is that? I don't know why, the first news-related thing


was a show I did in the states called The Daily Show, a mock news


show, and I played a mock reporter, it was essentially a die, a roving


reporter that would go out and do these stories that were found by our


research department. And I had no experience as a journalist and


certainly no right to be doing what I was doing. And none of us did. We


were actors and impro-advisers, we were completely -- improvisers, we


were completely out of our debt, and we would go out and pretend to be


legitimate news people and pull the wool over people's eyes. Do you find


our industry slightly ludicrous? I think, yes, and I will say that to


your face. I think there is a lot of fodder for comedy, I will put it


that way. I think that it can be absurd at times. It is a necessity,


and it is something that people, news is something that people need.


But I think what, specifically in Anchorman 2, the way the news is


depicted it is the advent of 24-hour news, there is a lot of time to


fill, and there is a lot of inconsequential news. There is a lot


of news that is there only to gain ratings. It sort of pokes fun at


that aspect of the news. That it is more corporate controlled. And less


about actual newsgathering and more about earning the, you know, the


ratings priz You are saying corporate-controlled, we are


avoiding the word "Murdoch" I didn't say anything! A stab in the dark


here, does it feel like a Fox satire? You know I think the, I


can't speak for Adam and Will who wrote the script and the template


for certain people in the movie are. I'm sure he was one of the


inspirations for the corporate head of this conglomerate that runs this


new 24-hour news station. With an Australian sound? It is an homage,


nothing more. It is certainly not to take anybody down. Does anybody else


speak Australian. Can you I get you to say with me "how bloody are you"!


The movie isn't a really harsh indictment of news, but but I think


it makes some valid and intelligent points about how news has changed


over the years. I want to talk about your character, Brick a -- brick, a


bit. He's not quite there. Did you feel uncomfortable at all about


getting laughs there are someone who is, the old fashioned word is


"retarreded"? I never thought of him that way I thought of him as ernest


and childlike. One of the things I like about the group and the four


characters together is there is a real affection between them. There


is a real support and there is, you know, they look at Brick as a


brother and they are there to help and support him as opposed to say


anything or make him feel awkward. Brick is liability when it comes to


going on air? They are all liabilities, they are all buffoons,


that is the other thing. They are all idiots. And so Brick is just


sort of the most niave of the bunch. Thank you so much. Time for us to go


now, it emerged today that parts of yesterday's memorial event for


Nelson Mandela weren't quite what they seemed. Baffled deaf people


there are Canada to China are still trying to work out what the supposed


sign language interpreter was saying, the organisers are trying to


work out who on earth he was. Because whatever he was doing with


his arms, according to people who know it, it wasn't sign language. We


had no idea either, so we guessed. Good night.


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