Following Thursday evening’s BBC TV Question Time – a once-proud serious programme now dragged down to the depths – I listened to Question Time Extra Time on Radio 5, a dreadful programme that seeks to ‘popularise’ politics for a ‘younger audience’ by analysing the just-finished Question Time as a form of post-match football punditry with ‘action replays’ of the most salient points of ‘the game’. Puerile. But I was interested to find out if the host, ‘chummy Brummie’ Mr Adrian Chiles, would display his unabashed Left-leaning bias.
I was not in the least surprised to hear his barely disguised contempt for the main reason I had watched the programme earlier (Isabel Oakeshott) and his outlandish praise for his ‘man of the match’, ‘George the Poet’.
Having ‘experts’ in the studio, mainly consisting of local media studies students, to back up his views, Chiles was a little taken aback when one of these undergrads as well as another guest, the Scottish ‘Right-wing’ comedian (ie not a smug snowflake Leftist, and funny) Leo Kearse, actually supported Isabel’s point of view. Chiles was rather flustered and asked the undergrad if ‘Oakeshott’ (not ‘Isabel’, I notice) was part of his sexual fantasy with her ‘strident Chipping Norton Tory views’. Later he asked Leo Kearse if his views on immigration were not ‘typically Farageist nonsense’ seeing immigration as the cause of everything: ‘potholes in the road ‘ – immigration!’ . . . ‘traffic queues – immigration!’ ad nauseam, hoping to raise a cheap laugh from his audience. He continued to mock Isabel Oakeshott saying David Dimbleby ‘really told her off’ tonight’ (cue action replay which really showed no such thing), adding that Dimbleby would probably like to eject a panel member before he retires later this year. Who had Chiles in mind? Isabel Oakeshott of course, in a voice that said to his listeners: ‘It’s obvious, isn’t it? She’s in the strident Chipping Norton Tory set’ (rolls eyes).
Before long I switched off and went to sleep, but it occurs to me that Chiles is getting away unchallenged with this, week in, week out. I doubt if the listening figures are high or the target demographic particularly important. However, his recent television programme Drinkers Like Me, aired at the end of August this year in a BBC2 prime time slot, and ostensibly about the dangers of ‘hidden’ everyday excessive drinking among the more educated middle-class professionals, goes to show that Chiles is actually trailing his coat tails past commissioning editors. He is trying to showcase his ‘talents’ as a mainstream writer and producer for more high-profile programmes. I suspect we could be seeing a lot more of this chap again in the not-too-distant future. Isn’t it about time someone took more of an interest and scrutiny in his political bias before he gets the chance?