Monday 22 January 2018

Clips and the usual cliches

Eilis O'Hanlon

AT this time, every show is either the last of an old year or the first of a new one. Broadcasters are glancing back or gazing forward. For news shows, this means raiding the archives for clips, padding out the airtime with some interviews, then heading home, job done. BBC Radio Four's News Review Of The Year made a bit more effort by theming 2013 as a year of heroes. Some obvious, such as Nelson Mandela, and Afghan schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, shot after standing up to the Taliban. Some not so obvious. Quite where Miley Cyrus's twerking fitted in was anybody's guess but it was tacked on to a spurious discussion with schoolgirls about whether Miley or Malala is more of a heroine. There's a false dicothemy if ever there was one.

Marian Finucane replayed some of her top interviews of the year. Piers Morgan's smugness about US gun laws went entirely unchallenged; the fact that guns remain popular was, typically, put down to the "power and influence" of the National Rifle Association, because, of course, the great unwashed are incapable of thinking for themselves.

Marian's interview with John Banville was more appealing, though his answer that he used a pseudonym for his recent crime novels because he felt they might be dismissed as "a postmodernist joke" if he published them under his own name sounded rather like a postmodernist joke in itself, especially as he eventually published them under a name almost identical to that of one of his fictional characters.

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