Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Television Current Affairs'

Redefining ‘Current Affairs’ and why is everybody standing at TV3?

images (10)index (13)










Once upon a time the term ‘current affairs’ had an unambiguous meaning. Current affairs programmes were essentially programmes about politics or issues with a strong political content. On shows  like Compass and Gallery we talked to and about politicians and political issues. Compass was documentary in style, film rather than studio, not unlike TV1’s  Sunday programme today; Gallery, on which I made my name as a ‘fearless interrogator’ of those in power – a novel concept in those days – had both studio and location items, but the live studio interview, primarily with politicians, was the programme’s trademark feature.

If you check out the backgrounds and ages of the people who complain that there are no ‘real current affairs programmes’ on TV anymore – people like me – you’ll probably find that they’re in their sixties or older and that they come from the school of ‘serious’ current affairs, which essentially means long studio interviews with politicians or lengthy studio debates between politicians. Being entertained was relevant to those viewers only insofar as the disembowelling of politicians was entertaining and new.  Our early heroes were Robin Day and David Frost; today we bow down before HARDtalk’s Stephen Saccur and… I can’t think of anyone else.

‘Discursive’, a long word for ‘long’, is our preferred description of the sort of interviews we approve of, so that excludes Campbell Live, the late lamented Close Up and pretty well everything else masquerading (our word) as ‘current affairs’ on the telly.

‘Serious’ is our other favourite word which is why Seven Sharp does not  and cannot qualify in our philosophy as a current affairs programme. Those people are having far too much fun. Giggling and current affairs are incompatible.   Read the rest of this entry »