Nothing has quite got people shouting at the telly (and each other) more than Brexit. Trying to make sense of it all is a team of BBC correspondents on Brexitcast. As the cast bit of the name suggests, the programme began as a humble podcast but has now transferred to the telly and is on just after Question Time on BBC 1, in that strange politics slot. I’ve often wondered why Thursday evenings and Sundays are deemed to be best place to put politics shows. I am guessing that it is something to do with MP’s traveling to their constituencies or it could just be because there was a hole in the schedule which needed filling.
Brexitcast does have that odd “Radio on the Telly” look, i.e. presenters with huge headphones talking into microphones the size of footballs. There have been various attempts at doing radio on the telly with varying degrees of success. Back in the late 1980’s James Whale was one of the UK’s original “shock jocks” and had a late night phone in show on Radio Aire in Leeds. As ITV was expanding its broadcasting to nighttime they thought it would make sense to stick cameras in James’s radio studio and turn the whole show into a TV show. In the US, Howard Stern to this day broadcasts his show live on the telly; and with most BBC radio studios now being equipped with cameras which stream to the internet, radio really is the new TV.
The cast (no pun intended) of Brexitcast are; based in London, the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg and her sidekick political correspondent Chris Mason and in Brussels, the BBC’s European Editor Katya Adler and her sidekick, Europe correspondent Adam Flemming. It’s great to see two women in the senior roles, but I wonder who is getting paid more, them or their junior male correspondent. (Oooh, a bit of politics there!)
They all have their own distinct characteristics and roles to play. Laura (as wonderfully lampooned in the Radio 4 comedy Dead Ringers) seems to take great delight in the chaos that is occurring at Westminster; Chris is very calm and effectively the voice of the people asking “What if?” and “What next?” questions. Katya is the voice of reason and always leaves you with a feeling that everything will be ok. Adam mainly seems to promote the playlist on BBC sounds and looks after the housekeeping of the show. All the time, all of them are typing on their phones as they talk. (The kids of today, eh!).
As for the content, at its best it is a fine example of the BBC’s motto “to inform, educate and entertain” (yes they really can make Brexit entertaining). At worst, it can sometimes come across as eavesdropping on a bunch of people who live in their own political world with little relationship to the real world. But at least do you do get the feeling that this quartet do know what is going on with Brexit. Which is more than can be said of our MP’s. (Oooh, a bit more politics there!)
As we enter a general election, I guess Brexitcast will become Electioncast, in which case I for one, may actually be able to follow what is going on.