Monday, September 06, 2010

Tony Blair and Daybreak - made for each other

If the BBC Breakfast producers had a sleepless night worrying about how the new ITV morning show Daybreak might affect them, I'm sure they will be pleased now that their fears were completely unjustified.

I watched the last hour or so of the show this morning, determined to give Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley a chance but their diet of the bland and the banal makes you wonder why ITV bosses decided to go to the trouble of getting rid of GMTV just to replace it with a new set hiding the same production values.

Maybe I'm a bit biased because as far as I'm concerned, Bill Turnbull on BBC Breakfast is the morning main man. He has exactly the right balance of authority and humour. He had won me over even before his appearance on Strictly Come Dancing five years ago.

Anyway, part of my reason for watching was to see their "exclusive" live interview with Tony Blair. He has a book to plug, I seem to recall. I didn't expect him to be seriously interrogated on a fluffy morning TV show but, honestly, I've seen Chiles be a lot harder on the Apprentice rejects he used to interview/take the mickey out of on "You're Fired." You would think, too, that if you had two people interviewing one of the most controversial political figures of the last 20 years, it's surely not too much to ask that they'd at least try a bit of Good Cop/Bad Cop.  I mean, when one asked him if there was anything he'd regretted putting in the book and got an affirmative but non specific answer, surely the other should have tried throwing some examples at him.  Nor do I recall any mention of Iraq - why on earth did they not ask him about Dannatt's claims, at least? I mean it was a live interview - he would have had to say something or look like an idiot.

That said, there were three things that particularly drew my attention.though. First we had the cheer brazen nerve of the man who was Prime Minister talking about the estrangement between the people and politicians like he had nothing to do with it. He spent 10 years feeding us charm filled, slickly delivered bullshit, delivering a new Labour project that retained the full force of Old Labour's distrust of the people. His communication with people was only ever one sided, to get his point across, not to listen to what we had to say to him.

Then he hinted that he might not bother with his planned book signing on Wednesday after the criminal waste of eggs on Saturday. But that didn't matter, he said, because he didn't need to do it.  I guess he knows that cancelling it will generate even more publicity than going ahead with it.

Finally was his body language when he was asked about whether he'd support the new Labour leader, whoever they were. He said that he would support Ed Balls 100% if he won, while very deliberately looking at the floor.

For me, though, I kind of think that Blair's superficial slickness and Daybreak's vacuous style were made for each other. The thing is I doubt either is what we want or need any more. We've moved on.

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