tv The Media Show BBC News July 23, 2022 4:30pm-5:01pm BST
no real rain, though, for the south east, where we desperately need it, and our temperatures on the warm side — 16 to 18 degrees, feeling a little on the humid side, probably some mist and low cloud around some of our western hills to start the day on sunday. sunday, more rain in the forecast, heavy at times for scotland and northern ireland. a pulse of rain likely to cross wales, perhaps reaching the north midlands, the peaks and the pennines through the afternoon. south—east of this, it's drier with some sunshine. temperatures across the board higher — much warmer in aberdeen — but the highest temperatures have been east anglia, where we're looking at up to 30, so it will be hot afternoon. more dry weather for england and wales in the week ahead, but across the north—west of the uk, although there will be some dry weather, there'll also be some rain at times. hello.
this is bbc news. the headlines... a global emergency is declared by the world heath organisation , as the international monkeypox outbreak worsens. officials in kent declare a major incident, as long queues form for a second day in dover. delays are also being reported by travellers heading for the eurotunnel in folkestone, with traffic crawling on approaching routes. russian missiles hit the port of odesa — a day after ukraine and russia agreed to restart grain exports now on bbc news — the media show. hello, i am ros atkins. welcome to this edition of the media show. of the media show. we're going to talk about tv political debates, because the conservative party leadership races down to two candidates, rishi sunak and liz truss. there have been two debates between then and some of the other candidates already. one got cancelled after some of the candidates
declined to take parts. the bbc is planning another with just the final two. and the whole process and the way the debates have played out has raised broader questions about how they're organised, how they serve voters and the country as a whole, and how the broadcasters find the experience, too. well, we're going to be speaking tojonathan from sky news, kristin from channel 4 news, julie for itv news, but first of all, let's bring in faisal islam, because he will be the on—air team for this bbc debate. tell us more. an awful lot has been done. a lot of the legwork has been done by... the excellent debates are hosted by two of the other people on this call, really rich in terms of drama,
and some interesting and intriguing policy proposals that we're yet to hear detail on. i think another factor here is that we haven't heard as many broadcast interviews with some of the candidates to be prime minister as we may have had in the past. so these really have been the only way to, kind of, independently probe people that could be literally prime minister in a few weeks�* time, so i found them tremendously interesting. i think we will try to tease out some of the detail where obviously there can be strategies where such detail is not forthcoming or helpful for the electorate we are trying to impress. so it's ourjob to try and hold the two people who are left in now to account on behalf of the country to try and extract that information, to try and find out what they think about, you know, what really matters right now,
and obviously, for mine, that's the economy and the cost—of—living crisis, too. all of these programmes try to tease out policy details but there are different ways going around that. help me understand how you settled on the format that you went for. well, the format was very much based on what we had based on what we had done before in 2019, when we did that conservative leadership contest, and the labour party leadership contest we had done, as well, which was essentially that the subjects will be determined by the invited audience. they would kick off with questions that would determine the main topic and then i would follow up with supplementaries. each candidate would get an opportunity to answer each question, but we would take it in turns to give them the first go, and then after that it was basically free debate. they were free to chime in, and it took them a little while. i mean, it was interesting. they did start debating, but it took them a little while to get used to that format and to start taking advantage of it. but it was pretty simple, and what we've done before. i mean, in terms of
getting them to argue, i mean, what we kind of had to do was point out that they were saying different things. and the big one in the channel a debate, i think, was the opening out of the economic debate, the question of whether you can fund tax cuts through borrowing or not, and that disagreement between liz truss and rishi sunak which has become the story of the campaign. it was fleshed out more injulie's debate on sunday, and i'm sure it will be the core of the debate on monday, as well. and that was just a question of same to liz truss, "what's your economic policy?" rishi sunak, why do you think that's fairy tale economics? off it went. that was the format you pursued. julie, iam interested, do you negotiate the format but the candidates, do you just ring them up and tell them, "this is how we're doing it?"
effectively, we need to acknowledge, and i know christian will be super- aware of this as well, these - debates were literally turned around within four or five days, - so there is not time for a long negotiation and we basically decided here is a crisp format for itv - that is an hour long. we've had less time than christian i had for his debate, and we presented them with what we wanted to do. we invited them all to take part. they're obviously free to do that or free not to do that, _ and we said on this occasion we are doing an hour. - there won't be an audience. we had a strong feeling - with our format that, actually, we were introducing _ the candidates to our audience. very many people watching . at home might not have been aware of them or know them at all, really, in terms of - their political standing, so we had a slightly different format, - and i think it's possible he gave . that sort of intensity that you saw play out on sunday night. so do you rehearse or you didn't have time? we didn't have time. i didn't know this is happening
for sure until thursday at about four o'clock when rishi sunak tweeted, "see you there," and until that point i was waiting for somebody at channel 4 to say that we decided to call it off, we are not going to air it unless they all turn up. we didn't have confirmation. it was really only thursday at four o'clock that i started going, "right, how is this going to work?" "what are we going to ask?" it was only on friday morning when we got the audience questions in that we can actually determine what the core of the debate was going to be about. we had obviously thought, well, we would like to have a section on this, a section on that. but we couldn't decide that because we had given a commitment that it would be the audience's questions that determine what we talked about. so it was literally, sort of, about 11 o'clock on friday that we were going to the questions going, right, most of the vast majority of these questions are about liz truss. that's 70%. we've got to give a big amount of the programme to that, then it's
economy — you didn't have time to rehearse. so what about you, julie? have to say i've done quite a lot of these, i no christian has as well, - as soon as i know there is one, there is a part of my brain already working on it. - when i got the call i was on . catalonia for my silver wedding anniversary. well, congratulations. you can imagine how that went down. i got a call on mondayl and it was just sort of, "ok, here's a heads up — there - may be a debate on sunday night." it was like, "ok, fine." as soon as somebody has said that to me, i think. there is a part of my brain| that is already going on it. i knew that it was pretty likely within hours. - it looked as if it was moving in the right direction, - it was akin to ani automatic mode. i know how i have to prep for these and it is really. detailed, it is, you know, i already thought about . which subject areas to pull in, and they were very obvious i subject areas. ijust start working as soon as i know, because i knowl there's that element.
of you've just got to be prepared in case something shifts or changes. - i would just like to be across that. - i'm particularly interested in this idea of rehearsal. i know that when emily makes lists was preparing for her interview with the prince andrei colleagues were playing that would happen in that interview. irate playing that would happen in that interview. ~ ., ., playing that would happen in that interview._ you - playing that would happen in that interview._ you have l playing that would happen in that | interview._ you have a interview. we do that. you have a colleaaue interview. we do that. you have a colleague pretending _ interview. we do that. you have a colleague pretending to _ interview. we do that. you have a colleague pretending to be - interview. we do that. you have a colleague pretending to be rishi l colleague pretending to be rishi sunak? we have a whole line—up of colleagues pretending to be all of them. i got back on friday- night, saturday morning, we were in a room rehearsing, doing a paper rehearsal- with five standing candidates. we are just very fortunate. i do these debates with this - amazing team on the programme. an amazing array of smart producers who are all - across all of the policy. detail, and it allows me to test out how the debate is - going to work, so we were doing that on saturday morning. we did another full dress rehearsal on sunday, - and for me, they aren't absolutely crucial- bit of the process. one question i've got for the three of you before i bring
in our guest from sky news, and maybe faisal, you're back with us, you can help me here. when this is playing out in real time and there is a lot of information coming your way, a lot of it you wouldn't know is coming your way until you hear it, how do you fact—check it? how do you catch the things that are maybe not as accurate as they need to be in the moment? that's part of the format that we have put together for monday, that we have the brilliant host, sophie raworth, doing the main questioning, but to myself and my esteemed colleague, chris mason will be to the side checking things interjecting i think and asking some questions. it's not firmly hammered down, but we're literally going to game out the process has you've been talking about in the next couple of days. i think it's quite intriguing, actually, we did this with some depth for the brexit referendum when i was working
withjonathan at sky, and jonathan was a rather good michael gove. it was incredibly difficult in the practice. so difficult that i thought there is no way, it's not very helpful, jonathan, you're being so difficult, it's unrealistic. and he was only half of that tough opponent that he ended up being! that michael gove ended up being! so it was a bit of a reunion. after that billing, we have to bring him in, jonathan, head of newsgathering and operations at sky news, a man who it sounds like can do an impression of michael gove when it is required. i won't to do that! but i wonder if this is a little frustrating listening to all of us, because you are listening to the bbc, itv and channel 4 talking about debates that either have happened or will happen and your debate didn't. it was very frustrating this week. he went into the room on monday with a commitment of four of the five remaining candidates in the race at that
point, whoever was left, turned up and debate. we felt we had a kind of viable programme that we could go ahead with, then unfortunately, for us, monday morning, liz truss and rishi sunak said that they weren't going to take part, and rishi sunak's team had been, had not given a commitment, but the others had, so at that point, we really didn't anticipate given that they were two out of the three candidates who were leading the mp's ballot that we would have a programme, and so it turned out to be. but that really speaks to, you called it earlier the kind of freestyle nature we were talking about earlier, the kind of wild west nature of the way that these debates are organised. chris was talking about it as well, about how he didn't know until rishi sunak tweeted earlier in the week on thursday, i think it was, that he was going to turn up to the friday debate. the current wild west way of organising these debates
where all the broadcasters do their own things, strengthens the hands of the politicians. but is it wild west, or is it perhaps a leadership contest in the conservative party is not precisely the same scenario as a general election, for example? you might want different programmes, different numbers of programmes depending on the circumstance. sure. well, the situation that we've seen play out in this contest completely foretells what is likely to happen ahead of a general election whenever it comes in which the broadcasters will all try and gain each other and game the politicians in order to try to hold their own debate, which is why sky is arguing once again as we did in 2018 for a formal body, an independent debates commission, that certainly ahead of general elections and possibly other contests organises this and ensures that we get a series of debates that politicians turn up and they're properly formatted
and they're over a proper series of times, because as fantastic as the debates the weekend, and i enjoyed them both immensely, and they were brilliantly chaired and very illuminating, what we ended up with was two five—candidate debates within two days of each other and possibly another debate, though it didn't happen, couple of days later with three candidates, rather it was something that was coordinated and structured and organised more properly. julie, would you prefer this to be a centralised system where someone rings you up whether you're away with your husband or doing something else and says, "actually, this is definitely what is going to happen." you don't have to sit there wondering. that is part of myjob, i just to be perfectly clear. we know that that comes with the territory. - it's part of myjob- and ijust get on with it. that is what we are here for. the thing is, you know, - the certainty element, especially if you are in the position i
of being the moderator has obviously a great deal - of appeal to me personally. i would like to be able to plot| and plan, and work out if i am going to be the person who is moderating. . i'm not making assumptions there. it is obviously very attractive - to think about having these things planned and done in a measured way i because, frankly, as a journalist. | in the middle of it's, you know, j that is obviously helpful to you. but itv has taken a bit of a different view- about the idea of a debates commission, because itv,| you know, their position is that it's for the broadcasters - to make the invitation. we decide the programme format and we do it in a sort of— mixed economy way, if you like. _ sometimes, we've had seven party leaders, head—to—heads, - sometimes there are programmes where the candidates are - interrogated by an audience. there's a whole different way of mixing up the coverage - to make sure that you're offering, as a public service broadcaster, i a really good template - of programmes to the audience. and we just think that, you know,
itv has taken the position that. broadcasters have a right to - organise and invite participants. and the participants i then have a free choice whether to take part. but i wonder whether you all — and you all have great experience making these programmes, but you also have great experience of doing longform interviews. faisal islam, let's bring you in. you were political editor for sky news before you joined the bbc as economics editor. you have done lots of high—profile longform interviews. do they not reveal more, perhaps, but the candidates and their policy positions and their personality than the more complex and harder to define formats that come with these leadership debates? i think sky and channel 4 together developed a format that was very interactive interview alongside a town hall. that was pretty effective, sadly, it didn't happen at the last election, and it was interesting because it was two broadcasters joining together. i think when you look back over the past six or seven years
a decade or so when these debates first happened, back at the 2010 general election, i guess the reality is that it was felt, that they had a material impact on the results, and various people in the negotiations don't want them to have that material impact. so it's a very delicate situation and they are happening less. and that's one set of problems. but i think the absence of longform interviews, as well, is a real problem. we have very deep and complicated problems, dilemmas, and trade—offs that all benefits, i think, from discussion and benefit from some accountability. and, you know, everyone here does superb interviews. and i think democracy benefits hugely when those longform interviews happen, but they're also under threat, as is the debate format. i went to understand from all of you how you try and make these formats work.
you've all taken different approaches both in the last few days but across the last few years, as well. before we talk any further, let's listen to one thing that julie did during the itv debate on sunday night, which was an effort to ask a question but get them to answer using their hands. if he wished to serve, who here would be happy to have boris johnson in their cabinet? please raise your hands. if he wished to serve, would you have borisjohnson in your cabinets if you were prime minister? not a single person would have borisjohnson back in... i would like to say something about it, because i think it's only fair. we are going to go back to that after the break. hold that thought. julie, juggling everything as well as having to go into a break. i wonder why you decided to do that? you must have, i assumed, planned to do that in advance. yes, yes. we planned to do it, and its because when we are thinking
about formats, we are thinking about, ok, we are asking our audience to stay with us for an hour. that is quite a tight time. it might seem an odd thing to say, but it is quite hard to cover, with five candidates, a lot of subject in an hour, so it's a good bit of shorthand. it switches things up a bit. it gives a different tempo to the programme. i mean, it's television — it's a visual. it's a great bit of visual shorthand, even though those hands were down. and it's just one of those little moments. and it also helped us to tee up before we went to the ad break that we were going to get into the issue of character, and wejust thought that was a punchy, quick, sharp way of doing it, and it was the thing that was picked up. is a journalistically satisfying to do these debates when you go into them? trying to balance all of these different, sometimes competing factors? i think that... that is a really great question because, actually, they are satisfying as a moderator. they are not always journalistically satisfying because your instinct as a journalist is to want to do
endless follow—up questions, to go down the route that people have set you on and follow up and interrogate, but you are, actually, in those formats, you are there to encourage debate between the candidates, and it's absolutely right that quick follow—ups and points of information are necessary, but you simply cannot start fact—checking every little detail that gets thrown up within the conversations. you are there to encourage a debate. you know, that's what it is. it is not a longform interview — it's not even a short form interview. in some ways, it is quite hard because you have to park some of your instincts at the door when you get on with it and just left them and interrogate one another�*s position. can you relate to that christian? that is absolutely the case.
you inevitably have a huge amount of material up your sleeve for all of the candidates ready for if the moment arises, and there are sorts of things that as a moderator you could pursue that you end up not pursuing because, you know, it's not yourjob it's not an interview, as you say. what you have to do is try to get them to answer the questions and debating each other. i think they have been very, these debates, the two debates that have happened have been really substantial in terms of what they have revealed, and i think they opened up a debate that had been going on behind closed doors, behind the scenes, and also opened up the rivalry and the vitriol between some of the candidates that have been going on behind the scenes and with briefings of newspapers. i was surprised, in some ways, that they were as open as they ended up being, but i think as exercises go, they were substantial. but, presumably, jonathan at sky news, you have concluded that one of the reasons yours didn't go ahead was because of what happened during julie and krishnan�*s in the days before hand? i think we know that now, because afterjulie's - debate on sunday evening,
it's understood that - rishi sunak looked to liz truss - and said, "why are we doing this?" or words to that effect, _ and they then decided not to do it, or not to do it that tuesday after. i think what comes through from all of this discussion _ is the debates were great, they were illuminating, . they were revelatory, l they demonstrated why they needed to take place, but what also comes - through from this discussion is ten years on from where we secured . working together as broadcasters, the great debates in 2010, - the three across the . general election here, over a decade on from that, l they're still not a cemented, consistent feature l of our good political and broadcast landscape. they aren't, but, some would argue, i guess, that perhaps the different formats tease out different things from the candidates, and julie, i'm really interested to know
whether before, during or perhaps afterwards, you saw indications that liz truss and rishi sunak realised that they where showing an abrasiveness within their relationship that perhaps we hadn't seen before. well, i have to be honest, i mean, it was very genial before we went to air, and you've always got those few moments where you're on the site, as the moderator, i've got the countdown in my ear. you know, it was very chatty and very genial. you know, actually when we came off air, and i always say, please, can we build in a few moments of that shop at the end to see if they are going to go and shake hands or whatever. ididn't... i genuinely, and this may be in my misinterpretating things, but i didn't get a sense when they were walking off the set that they necessarily knew the impact that they had had, you know, outside. it wasn't something that i particularly witnessed at all.
i saw a few of them in the corridorss, in the green room afterwards when they were coming out of the dressing rooms and all of the rest of it, and everything was very good—natured. do you think that's because you didn't have an audience, that they didn't pick up on how people were reacting to them? a bit like the way that big brother contestants emerge from the house and don't realise how the audience has reacted to them? laughter. well, i hadn't thought of that comparison, necessarily, but i thought, you know, a lot about it since. i think that may well have been a factor. it is so intense when you are in that space, it is so intense, and i am used to doing it with an audience on the other side or behind me, and you can pick up on the vibe in the room, but there wasn't a vibe. it was just this little, sort of, intensity, you know? and krishnan, what about you? did you pick up on dynamics between the candidates which then played out on the tv? well, i mean, asjulie says now, they come on and it's
all very straightforward. i think actually what this may have revealed is a relative lack of experience in these candidates. on these sorts of debates, and i think that may have also been revealed in, sort of, the negotiations leading up to them. you know, you don't have to fall out in these debates. you know, the debates became acrimonious because they did so, and maybe they did so by accident, or maybe they did so on purpose. i mean, i certainly got the impression that having opened up the economic arguments and the argument on culture war on the friday night, they seem to have come into the sunday night determined to really thrash it out, and you know, to really go at each other. it seemed to be quite a deliberate thing. that may be wrong and it may just be my impression as a viewer, i think, i'm not sure they had thought that clearly about what the impact of a disagreement like that would be.
finally, faisal, you're listening to all of this, no doubt taking mental notes and talking to your colleagues about whatjulie and krishnan have been sharing. how do you and chris mason and sophie raworth plan to interact with liz truss and rishi sunak, if at all, before they go on the tv with you? i don't think there'll be much interaction between now and monday. there'll be plenty of interaction between us as a team to try to find out the best ways of teasing out this information. but would be meat that candidates half an hour before and say hello, or would you not see them at all before you engage them on air? i don't think there was much form for this, ross. i do remember doing the sky referendum debate in my green room, and i opened the door and outside is a much taller than you would expect david cameron just waiting there for me sort of eyeballing me just to say i am here, a bit like a defender putting in a quick tackle on a striker
at the beginning of the match. well, that is an image to leave us with. thank you very much indeed to you, to krishnan guru—murthy from channel 4 news, tojulie etchingham from itv news, and alsojonathan from sky news. thank you to all four. thank you for watching the media show. we will be back at the usual time next week. bye— bye. hello, there. hello there. there have been some fairly big weather contrasts across the uk today. across western areas we've had some thicker cloud bringing outbreaks of rain. some wet weather near the belfast area earlier on today, but it's not been like that everywhere. again, across parts of south east england, east anglia, running up into north yorkshire, even, we've had lots of sunshine, so it's been another dry day and that's really been one of the themes of this month. we've hardly had any rain across southern wales, southern and eastern areas of england —
indeed, there are some parts of hampshire that haven't had any real recordable rain so far this month, and there might not be much here, because although there is going to be rain for the next few days, the majority of it will be across north—western areas. there'll be little, if anything, reaching parts of south east england, the south midlands and east anglia, those areas that have been particularly dry so far this month. now the radar picture does pick up some rainfall, but the heaviest rain today has been across northern ireland and western scotland. the rain is a bit more patchy further south, but overnight tonight, the brisk south—westerly winds will continue to bring pulses of rain across these areas, whereas across the southeast, the rain never really reaches. it's going to be a warm night. temperatures falling no lower than 16 to 18 degrees. and you'll probably find some low cloud and a bit of mist around some of our western hills to start the day on sunday. the same area of low pressure is with us, then, for tomorrow's weather, bringing some rain to north western areas, but some warm weather working into east anglia and the south east, where it should stay dry for just about everyone. the rain will be heavy at times for northern ireland and for western scotland. the rain a bit patchy in nature as it works across wales,
probably reaching the north midlands, the peaks and the pennines for a time, as well. and it's a warmer day for most of us with temperatures 21 to 2a, much warmer in aberdeen, but the highest temperatures in east anglia could hit the 30 degrees celsius mark, so a hot day here. now for monday, things will start to cool down. the same area of low pressure is with us, but as it starts to pull away, we get these north westerly winds bringing a mixture of sunshine and showers, maybe some of those showers bringing some lengthier spells of rain as they merge together across eastern scotland and north—east england. so, temperatures down, but still warm across eastern areas, 25 degrees, but otherwise high teens to low 20s. and looking at the forecast in the week ahead, high pressure continues to bring settled sunny weather to england and wales with rising temperatures. there'll be some rain at times in the northwest.
this is bbc news. the headlines at five. a global emergency is declared by the world heath organisation, as the international monkeypox outbreak worsens. we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, so new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little. officials in kent declare a major incident, as long queues form for a second day in dover. rishi sunak and liz truss take to the campaign trail as the race to become the uk's next prime minister heats up. i will deliver tax cuts, but tax cuts you can believe in. i will make that happen. what i'm about is about cutting people's taxes, reversing the national insurance increase to put more money in people's pockets and making sure those who work hard, go out to work, are rewarded.