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Monday, 1 February 2010

On Newsreaders and Weatherpersons

Perhaps I should have used the title "In Praise of Ben Brown". Increasingly irritated by current news/weather personalities, Ben stands out as an old school model which other media persons would do well to follow. His unassuming reporting and news reading present content without imposing himself. Come back Moira Stewart! Spare us from gesticulating somebodies, unable or unwilling to sit down. We even have some on the fringe channels with just one cheek wedged on a ledge and a laptop perched on a pillar for balance. But I am a BBC man at heart.
As an ancient Briton I have fond memories of those glory days when the original McDonald, McDonald Hobley, resplendent in DJ, and Sylvia Peters looking sufficiently alluring without having to glare seductively into the camera made watching television a pleasure without distracting irritants.
What has triggered this outburst? Principally gesticulating George, OBE - no, not 'other buggers' efforts' as some would have it but an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire no less, though a lot less than the later McDonald, Sir Trevor of the opposition channel.
Whether reading the news or reporting from afar the ever popular George waves his arms about like a graduate from the Toscanini School of Conducting, stabbing here, pointing there as though the news has no impact without his personal intervention. Now they're all at it. And what does he scribble on his script at the half-time break? Probably "Up yours Humphrys!" after the BBC's Rottweiler reportedly said, “You are on air for about four minutes by the time they have taken out all the filmed reports and everything else, reading from an autocue. It's not a job for a grown man, I'm afraid, or woman." Perhaps that is why George pads out his show by dismissing reporters with an "Alright [whoever]" after they've delivered their minor walk on parts. To conclude his bulletin we have a grinning introduction to the football item as if to say, alright we've got over the dull stuff, now for the really interesting bit before you have the news from where you are. Regional and local news perhaps?
And what of today's Weatherpersons? (I avoid the term 'Weatherman' because it will offend those of a delicate PC disposition while 'Weatherwoman' sounds too much like Wonderwoman. - Close!). Apart from the odd exception they illustrate the same flapping trend looking as though they went to a flying school for people with a speech impediment. Arms flying in all directions, they break their sentences into weatherspeak chunks as though two half sentences make for better weather than one. But can that be any worse than the inert who appears to have just got out of bed to deliver a monotonous confidential chat that leaves me groping for the remote? Come back Sian Lloyd, all is forgiven!

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