Friday, December 25, 2015

Strictly Media - 6

Just time to load up today's Strictly stockpot piece, before inserting this year's turkey, Whittingdale, in the oven. I shall enjoying carving. Merry Christmas, if you're celebrating, to all readers.

6 James Harding and Zanny Minton Beddoes

Zanny, now Editor of The Economist, brought long experience of the American Smooth to this new partnership. James, Director of BBC News, has danced around the world, understands what makes it tick, and loves sharing. Indeed, he sees it as part of his role that, however busy he may be Editing, there's always time for Something Else, especially if someone irons your morning papers and lays them out Exactly In The Order You Want To Read Them Every Day.  Lord Hall would have preferred that Something Else was actually Sorting Out News.

The BBC's Millbank Studios were cleared every Friday afternoon for their training sessions, some of which were broadcast almost live, with very little editing. James' somewhat precise elaboration of the trickier steps was not without error, and his performances, as Craig Revel Horwood noted, lacked Per-Son-Ality.  But here was a contestant hardly riddled with self-doubt.

When it came to the public vote in round six, James had unfortunately alienated a group of solid voters - the huge Newsnight production team, and their dwindling band of viewers - with his plans to extend Huw Edwards' 10pm bulletin. David Dimbleby wasn't happy either, with Question Time shoved backwards. By Round Six, James was in the dance-off, had Given His All, and could Do No More. The judges saved the slighter-but-better-paid frame of Peter Salmon, and James went off for a snifter with Lionel Barber, to see if he'd made up his mind about retirement yet.

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