A few weeks ago, Jane Garvey and Fi Glover said something on their Fortunately podcast to the effect that there ought to be a politics podcast featuring two women discussing the issues of the day, in the same vein as The Rest is Politics. I agreed with them, in much the same way as you agree with a lot of what they say.
But now I wonder, was something cooking? Was it already in the bag? Or did something start cooking, very fast, as a direct result of this conversation? I suspect the former, but I’d like to believe it’s the latter.
Because yesterday, the news broke that Garvey and Glover are leaving the BBC for Times Radio, where they will have an afternoon show and a podcast, presumably not called Fortunately, which will continue until the end of the year.
There’s a piece over on the BBC web site about the mass exodus of presenters from the public broadcaster. It’s hardly surprising. It’s widely known to be a shit place to work, with Compliance officers crawling out of the walls; a constant barrage of hate from the billionaire press; pressure to move to Manchester; Tory infiltration in the news organisation; a ridiculous interpretation of “balance” you have to cleave to; and – if you’re lucky enough to be a top earner – the publication of your annual salary for all to see. On top of this, the BBC is notoriously still a terrible place to work if you are a woman over a certain age. They have an absolute blind spot when it comes to women over 50, even on the radio.
Given the popularity of Fortunately, and the sheer quality of these two presenters, the BBC should have given the two of them a Five Live afternoon show long ago. When I fell in love with Five Live all those years ago it was Garvey and Glover (and Peter Allen) who made me love it. They’re two ridiculously under-utilised talents. And while I’m sure (like lots of women) they also had to deal with childcare issues in their middle career, there has been nothing stopping the BBC from giving them a more prominent role in recent times.
And it’s another nail in the coffin of the BBC, as far as I am concerned. One more reason I personally have for my very light use of the service, gone.
So they’re off, like Eddie Mair before them, like Maitlis and Sopel and Simon Mayo and many others. A shame, in a way, to lump them in with some of the others (e.g. Steve Wright), who are superannuated and ought to make way (nobody in the media ever retires), but a bigger shame that it’s to Times Radio. Because if you’re constantly under political pressure at the BBC, you won’t get much respite in the Murdoch organisation. It really is The Dark Side when it comes to media. Only thing darker is The Daily Mail.
Will I listen? I’m going to have to think about it.