Here at the roomyverse, where we have our own Mastermind Championship on the go, we like to keep abreast of any developments in the original TV show. We also like to keep our antennas tuned for any evidence that BBC Radio Five Live’s Victoria Derbyshire may really be a mere vibrating husk of a radio ‘personality’, and so our ejaculate almost struck the ceiling when news broke that Mastermind host John Humphreys had slammed Ms. Derbyshire for being ‘grotesquely irresponsible and stupid.’
I’ll let The Times take up the story:
“This week, in the midst of what Radio 5 bills as a “fresh and lively debate”, [Derybshire] told listeners that she had been invited on to Celebrity Mastermind and was offered a “crib sheet” to help her to swot up on her chosen subject.
“It was blatantly untrue and libellous of the junior producers on the show,” Humphrys told The Daily Telegraph. “The programme takes its integrity very seriously and to say such a thing was disgraceful.”
The day after her “crib sheet” comments, Ms Derbyshire issued a clarification. “What I meant . . . was the Celebrity Mastermind team offered research guidance,” she said. “Not answers to specific questions.”
Mr Humphrys was not appeased. If that most sacred of television quizzes was brought low, what hope was there for The Weakest Link, Eggheads, or even Bargain Hunt?
“She might have apologised but it’s too late now,” he said. “This sort of thing is damaging because people start to think, ‘there’s no smoke without fire’. There has never been help given to contestants, nor will there be.”
So it’s been a bad week for our Vicky, and tomorrow sees a new look to Five Live’s morning schedule. As predicted by the roomyverse some months ago (see ‘The People Who Hate People Party’ section of our Archive) Little Nicky Campbell is back helming an hour’s phone-in from 9am, knocking Victoria’s show back to 10 (although it retains it’s three-hour running time, with poor Aasmah Mir’s apparently ‘too labour-intensive’ Midday News making way for it).
Victoria’s show is still billed as a ‘phone-in’, but how that’s going to work off the back of Nicky is anybody’s guess. Certainly nobody seems to know at TV Centre. Vicky’s apparently unhappy with the changes, but unfortunately I think her boss, like me, may consider her stewardship of the mid-morning show to have been nothing but ear-dustingly pedestrian. Why else throw our old shellsuit shellacking Spartacus back into the pleb-wrangling arena, if not to give the morning schedule the arsekicking it needs post-Breakfast?
And I’m glad. I’m glad that Nicky’s back, and I’m glad that Vicky’s star is on the wane, because when I listen to her I just don’t hear any genuine human interest in her voice. Perhaps my opinion is tainted by the general rumours that she’s one of the most mercenary operators in the building, and maybe it’s just that I love Fi Glover, and Victoria stole her husband from right under her nose.
Fi has everything Victoria lacks – real warmth and a natural rapport with public & personalities alike - so it’s kinda heartbreaking for me to hear Fi fronting Radio 4′s Saturday Live once a week when Ms Derbyshire’s brawling such blatantly obvious cobblers as ‘Should Alex Ferguson retire?’ and ‘Should you pay to park at work?’ while sounding barely engaged every bloody weekday.
Check out this classic ‘dead-behind-the-eyes’ publicity still - Oh roll on Monday, and the unleashing of the far too-long-restrained Campbell beast, you lucky, lucky people.
On the back of riling John Humphrys who in all honesty got it absolutely right about her it is odd how Victoria Derbyshire has managed to maintain her position with gaff after gaff… without even considering her love of her own voice radio manner and constantly not allowing those she interviews to extrapolate fully their position (she is no Paxman). I recall how she aggressively attacked callers for suggesting David Blunkett couldn’t do his job as he was having an affair… guilt qualms there without doubt.. then she was well off the mark, attempting devils advocate ‘good radio’ whilst interviewing Jamie Oliver prompting him to call her ”some stupid cynical bitch from BBC Radio Five’… add to that the grossly ill timed show when she asked listeners whether they still had sympathy for Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate after they were officially made suspects in the case by Portuguese police the previous Friday… how crass… The weight of the negative reaction was such that producers were forced to change the phone-in debate to whether the station should be discussing the case at all – and listeners voted by 68% to 32% that it should not be. It is time Radio 5 got shot of Phone in’s based on really loaded questions to attract the bigots… moronic radio with a presenter that knows everything about nothing.
I think your final sentence sums her up pretty well, and I can’t see why Adrian van Klaveren perseveres with her. It was telling that, when talking about the schedule rejig, he was very quick to praise Campbell, Peter Allen and Simon Mayo, but very reticent when it came to Victoria, only saying that she had a “very particular ability to deal with subjects which are not necessarily areas of comfort for people to talk about”.
Lordy, that makes her sound like a freakish hybrid of Trisha & Donal ‘arsebrow’ Macintyre, but if that’s supposed to be her real talent why are 90% of her shows chocka with the kind of banal BS that makes your ears bleed with a yearning for eternal silence? It doesn’t make any sense; I don’t know anyone who likes her; Let’s get the petition going now: Just say ‘Doh!’ to Derbyshire!
I am Radio 4 now during her slot… I have grown to Mayo as his understated measured style (with a rye smile I image at times) and actual frequency with regard to vocal tone makes for a listening period that does not have the normal fatigue I associate with strident high end continuous voices that have a ‘bark’ around 1 kHz… as most radios do not have the equalisation power to smooth that out!
Dare I say it I am growing to Richard Bacon despite his late time slot… I have taken to pod casts or simply recording his show and listening to it during the day… Peter Allen’s quality is a given, the oasis in the desert of meanders… I just despair at how Radio 5 seems to have lost a purpose of direction with regard too true quality…
I find Campbell at times irritating though he does manage the odd insightful question to some obscure wriggling minister without the obvious Machiavellian shenanigans to elicit the so called ‘good radio’ plaudits… I am getting grumpy but then I hate turning off in frustration and getting out my Alistair Cooke’s Letters from America CDs to remind me ‘good radio’ is possible without compromising quality…
So having said that Derbyshire is not to my personal taste I would not necessarily castigate her on the Fi Glover episode (though I do like Glover’s presentation) but it is the idea I get that unlike Mayo, for example, who draws those he has speaking out to give a full comment I do not get the same feel with her remit on presenting. Maybe the Mayo style does not create a squirm in the seat or exasperated revelation but I’ll seek out the the real accomplished Spanish inquisition bull dogs if I want that, and the BBC has enough of those delivering on all medium.
I love Mayo. I think he is, genuinely, the best talk radio presenter in the country. The Book Club is lovely, as is the TV Review slot, but his relationship with Mark Kermode is getting a bit too cosy. I think a smug edge is beginning to creep in, and they’re in danger of believing in their own ‘Wittertainment’ hype, which is not helped by indulging celebrity fans like Jason Isaacs and Kenneth Branagh with ‘hello’s’ and nudge, nudge, wink, wink insider anecdotes. I’ll still subscribe to their podcast because Kermode’s reviews have more bite than most non-print critics, but I wish it would all get a bit less Terry & June.
My jury’s still out on Bacon. I think Five Live isn’t his style of station – he should be more Iain Lee, LBC, or anywhere that would let him exercise his misanthopic edge a little more. It’s not all that enjoyable listening to Richard reigning himself in most evenings. Nick Wallis – his usual stand-in – is a friend of mine and, god bless him, at least he’s astoundingly competent. I think he needs a couple more years to develop a signature personality, but he’s getting there.
I have to agree with you on Bacon but I would like to see him develop with the BBC rather than go commercial… He reminds me within manner in many ways to Nick Barraclough. Nick is a friend of mine and used to do the Radio 2 country show until a ‘Night of the Long Knives’ cull by the then head of Radio 2 Lesley (did she jump or was she pushed) Douglas… the stories Nick told me about that reign…
speaking of reign… reigning himself in most evenings? certainly with his no doubt long running welcome back to the family after BLUE PETER rehabilitation… just last night I heard Richard say more than once during one topic “anyone falling over on the pavement, that is always going to be funny”… and if wasn’t for the fact the show is listened to insomniacs with a late night radio listening warped sense of ethics I would have expected an outcry of protest about those with relatives that were part of pavement fatalities that leave cherished ones behind etc etc with a cry of is “that funny Bacon…” he followed that up with a rather nifty factual statement regarding the pollution increase with the announced 3rd Heathrow runway go ahead…
This morning on 5 Campbell has been relishing the The Heathrow 3rd Run way storm and it has been pulling out all the agenda driven train spotters and ‘experts’ alike with a rampant Campbell diving in as he does with his Devils Advocate hat well and truly on and with his hand firmly on the ‘you’re wrong’ knob as he turns those down that contest him with a curt ‘thank you for your views’ … radio can bring out the totalitarian fascist ‘Suits you sir’ in presenters… that volume knob holds the power!
I was hoping he would get Boris Johnson on and his Thames Estuary Airport idea…