On my commute back home this evening I put on my headphones and listened – as I do most nights – to Jane Garvey and Peter Allen on Five Live Drive. The pair complement each other very well – both are very good interviewers, quite prepared to be sarcastic, and give a seriousness to Radio Five thwarting the best endeavours of Nicky Campbell’s increasingly bizarre contributions to the breakfast show. They are much the best thing about the station (and have been since the channel was formed from the ashes of the old Radio 5 many moons ago).
Around twenty five past five (available on the listen again feature from the website about 1 hour and twenty one minutes in to the broadcast) there was an interview with erstwhile penner of pornographic fiction and bagpipe player Alastair Campbell, increasingly morphing into his caricatures in Bremner, Bird and Fortune or Time Trumpet. He was on to answer questions about Blair’s rather impressive speech (how the Labour party will miss him when he’s gone – his heartwarming children canvassing anecdote, the Cherie joke, his sleight at Brown with the hint of Macmillan on RAB Butler).
Beginning with a banal query about what he’s doing now, answered in world weary manner, Campbell prepared to eulogise. Jane Garvey then read an e-mail received by the programme (something which happens regularly in interviews and should come as no surprise to an interviewee on the show). The e-mail was not particularly complimentary. Campbell flipped (in measured tones) suggesting the e-mail was faked or planted by an opposing party.
Peter Allen then commented on the quality of Blair’s speech and Brown’s speech and made reference to the Cherie Blair comments (widely reported this morning and now apparently even more anti-Brown in overtly supporting Alan Johnson). What I believe is termed “a right barney” ensued. Campbell replied “with very little respect” that there was little point in wasting breath on the topic, and Allen abruptly brought the interview to an end complaining about Campbell misquoting him and suggesting there was “no point in going on”.
Worth a listen for political and Campbell afficionados, yet surprisingly it has not provoked much comment yet.