I wrote a rather scathing review of the Beeb’s election night coverage last week (and a can I give out big hi to the visitor from the Beeb who was looking it over earlier) since when I’ve been giving a little thought to what might be done to improve matters.
And I think I’ve come up with a winner.
The element of the coverage that caught the worst reaction was Jez Vine’s swing-o-meter routines, about which I had this to say…
Vine is by no means a complete washout, either when pursuing his day job as a political journalist or even when contributing, as he has in the past, to Radio 4’s ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’ but what he lacks is the kind of manic energy and obvious eccentricity that Peter Snow brought to the Beeb’s election broadcasts as the man who made swing-o-meter an essential feature of its coverage, and it was that energy that would often carry Snow through even if the material he had to work with wasn’t quite up to scratch.
More than that, however, the Snow era had a sense of genuine surreality in the selection of election graphics – who could forget the classic ‘Prime Minister under a cliff’ animation from a few years ago – and it was often the case that the idea that made final cut were so bizarre and came completely from left-field that it was impossible to accuse the Beeb of editorialising their coverage simply because the graphics were so far out there that it one simply couldn’t ascribe any political meaning to them at all.
Peter Snow was the Monty Python of election broadcasting, part of the grand tradition of surrealist British comedy that spawned everything from the Goon Show to the Goodies – what Vine was lumbered with last night was the stuff of the graveyard slot on BBC3, the kind of ’sketch show material that’s easily slotted into a typical BBC 3 Schedule under a faintly suggestive title like ‘Shitty-Fuck-Witz’
Nothing personal against Jez, but to pull the swing-o-meter gig of you need to do more than act a bit mad, you need to be a bit mad.
So, we need a replacement, and I’ve got just the man for the Job…