Cowards As Well As Mediocrities


Some time ago the BBC announced that they had decided to name a wing of Broadcasting House after John Peel.

His erstwhile colleague at Radio 1, Andy Kershaw, responded thus :

“This is breathtaking hypocrisy and self-serving bogus sentimentality. It is also, to some extent, guilt-driven. Radio 1 was marginalising John just before his death. He was utterly demoralised by the way in which he was being treated. He told me so. They wanted shut of him but didn’t want his broadcasting blood on their hands. (Cowards as well as mediocrities). So, they made his life at Radio 1 miserable in the hope that he’d sack himself. (Of course, he was too deferential to stand up to them). His final words to me on the last occasion I saw him alive, and referring to his mistreatment, were, “It’s killing me.” Now they’re pulling an onion-from-pocket about John and hoping to confer upon themselves – and a part of a building, for goodness sakes – some dignity derived from his reputation and his status as a national treasure. Which, at Radio 1 (not so much Radio 4), they barely valued at the time. Shameless and shameful.”

I remember meeting Peel about eighteen months before he died and his exasperation and unhappiness around how he was being treated was as clear as it was saddening.

So it perhaps comes as no surprise to hear that Danny Baker’s BBC London show has today been axed.  Quite how or why such a fine broadcaster has found himself in this situation is baffling. Even more so when you consider the Corporation will be celebrating 90 years of BBC Radio later this month.

I love the BBC, which in days like these is an increasingly difficult thing to do, but today it seems the cowards and mediocrities are on the rise.


2 Responses to “Cowards As Well As Mediocrities”

  1. Here. Here.
    I remember recording Danny Baker’s last Radio 1 show on cassette, thinking at the time that as someone who didn’t live with in range of the London stations, this might be the last time I heard him. Luckily, the Beeb aren’t so daft and have some idea of the genius of the man and he has hung around since.
    He is a treasure (as was Peel) and should be given the freedom of the airwaves to wander into a studio anytime he pleases to broadcast to the nation…

    • 2 danielweiresq

      Absolutely right. Given how few people properly ‘get’ radio they should just sit down and agree to support whatever he wants to do. Radio is continually marginalised against television and given the relative cost it just seems so short sighted to do what they’ve done . . . here’s hoping he sticks with it on his Saturday show . . .

      DW x

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