So farewell then Sunday Politics…

Way back in the early eighties there was a sitcom called “Butterflies” where the mum was lampooned for her terrible cooking and all round failure as a homemaker. I pride myself in being the 21st century version of that mum. I drown noodles, explode baked beans in the microwave, incinerate duck and pancakes (even though Mr Marks and Mr Spencer provide simple instructions) and the hoover gathers more dust than it picks up.

And yet, despite it all I know I am a reasonably ok parent because I have at least managed to impart to my children an interest in politics.

Most of all this manifests itself in an excess of Sunday political telly. I would never of course risk trying to cook anything resembling a Sunday dinner but we have often enjoyed a lazy breakfast in front of the Sunday Politics. Andrew Neil has been on screen in our household so much over the years that he is practically a member of the family. I beamed with pride when my six year old when watching the coverage of Mrs Thatcher’s funeral pointed excitedly at the screen and said, “Look there’s the man from the Sunday Politics.” I was even on the BBC South version of the programme once. “Not to worry”, said the kindly Lib Dem press officer when I expressed some nerves: “No-one actually watches it”. Well we did.

Sunday political TV was in the blood from an early age. In the 70s we crammed into what was poshly known as a “kitchenette” at the pub run by my grandparents and watched Peter Jay or Brian Walden tell us in baffling terms that the country was in a dreadful state and then proceed to interview some dour union leader in Buddy Holly glasses about the closed shop. Grandpa, being a man of the left, would cheer on said union leader in robust terms.

Sunday political television has always been an institution in its own right but, for a while, with three hours of programmes to watch, it became a veritable triathlon. We gasped at the courage of Sophy Ridge who quoted Trump on private parts to a wincing PM. We followed the journey of Robert Peston’s hairstyle with interest. We wondered if guests like Ed Balls and Baroness Warsi would be put out of their misery and actually allowed to eat all those yummy croissants in the studio.

Me and mine will dearly miss the two axed Sunday programmes (what a hero for the nation Andrew Neil is: how many times can you interview David Gauke and Diane Abbott in a lifetime?). And now the Sunday political chorus has been reduced to a mere duet with only Sophy Ridge and Andrew Marr still standing. Sundays will never be quite the same again.

* Ruth Bright has been a councillor in Southwark and Parliamentary Candidate for Hampshire East

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  • I will also miss the Sunday Politics program along with the daily show, Andrew Neil made them worth watching with his surgical interviews.

  • Ruth Bright 11th Sep '18 - 9:44am

    Hi David. As I said in the piece I was on the Sunday Politics once. Sadly no-one asked me back. Pity, it would have been the perfect vehicle to launch my bid for the leadership!

    Oh well back to munching breakfast pastries with the kids.

  • Neil Sandison 11th Sep '18 - 2:17pm

    The BBC needs to think again as it continues to fail in its charter obligations to educate and inform .It removes balanced political debate as the other stations actually increase their coverage .Poor old aunty beeb will continue to lose audience share as it becomes too dependent on repeats and recycling old tired films.

  • Yes and Sophie Ridge is on at 9am on a Sunday morning, a time when any sane person is still eating breakfast. If you can’t sell politics air time, then change the format. There is an appetite for informative, interesting and entertaining politics shows. If it can’t be made viable now, what chances in the boring future with no Brexit or Donald Trump?

  • Richard Underhill 4th Dec '19 - 1:28pm

    Andrew Neil is interviewing Jo Swinson tonight at 7pm on BBC tv, a challenge that Boris Johnson ducked and then conceded to Andrew Marr, saying “I am willing to be interviewed by anyone called Andrew at the BBC”.
    Andrew Neil knows a lot of detail, especially on economics, which might have been too risky for Johnson, whose approach is broad-brush, slogans and headlines.
    He can be wrong, for instance on election night in the USA in 2016 he was confident that Hillary Clinton would win the rust-belt states that President Obama had won in 2012. A. Neil should therefore apologise to viewers in USA and UK who dislike the actual outcome.

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