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Friday, 26 November 2010

Justin Webb is turning me off the Today programme

I used to like Justin Webb's well-modulated voice and thoughtful contributions from America to the BBC News on television. I have a very different view of his work today.

He started off on the wrong foot by replacing Ed Stourton, a broadcaster of great intelligence and experience and unfailing courtesy to interviewees - a courtesy that accompanied mastery of complex material, and did not preclude rigorous inquisition when appropriate. I was sorry that the Today programme lost Stourton, though of course he is not lost to Radio 4 itself.

Webb has fairly recently fashioned himself into a boor with a posh voice, and his patently insincere and constantly repeated, "Sorry to interrupt you," coming as it does mere seconds into his interviewee's scarce-begun reply to a question asked by Webb, and in which you would think he had an interest, is turning me off Today. These ritual ill-mannered interruptions are not forensic questioning to get at the truth; they are an attempt by Webb to make a name for himself. - Unfortunately that name is Boring.

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