Wednesday 7 December 2016

Radio review: Going over the top, in more ways than one

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 11/07/2016 | 02:30

Sir John Chilcot presents The Iraq Inquiry Report at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London Photo: REUTERS/Jeff J Mitchell/Pool
Sir John Chilcot presents The Iraq Inquiry Report at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London Photo: REUTERS/Jeff J Mitchell/Pool

It's one of the most consistently stimulating shows on BBC radio, but Woman's Hour can be very silly at times.

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Last Wednesday was one of them, as they chose to discuss former UK minister Ken Clarke's mordantly amused description of his Tory colleague Theresa May as "a bloody difficult woman" by framing it in the context of a Royal Institution lecture later that same day on the historical silencing of women.

This was unfair both to Clarke, who is manifestly not as hostile to female assertiveness as this manufactured controversy needed him to be, and also to guest Dr Amanda Foreman, whose wide-ranging survey of the suppression of women's voices from ancient Mesopotamia and Homer onwards deserved better than to be tacked on to some current news event on the flimsiest of premises.

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