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JohnS

Eddie Mair

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Last PM programme with Eddie Mair this Friday 10 August and enormous thanks and appreciation to Eddie for 20 years of PM.  A great broadcaster and a massive loss to the BBC.  His demolitions of Boris Johnson (and many others) have been forensic and good to hear the over inflated properly skewered.  He has always been prepared to give the interviewee time, particularly those unfamiliar with being interviewed, and the series of interviews with Steve Hewlett must be amongst the BBC's finest jewels.  I wish Eddie all the best at LBC and may try to find his programme on the web but can't help thinking that I hope he returns to the BBC.

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Thank you so much, John, for bringing this up. I agree, a tremendous loss. Just listened again to some of the interviews you mentioned. These are remarkable. I admire his ability to get to the bottom of things by asking short and open questions. His emotional intelligence, adjusting his interview style to the person in question and the specific situation – at times probing, challenging, reigning in, not letting go, and at other times full of empathy, seeking understanding and creating understanding for others, generating a calm atmosphere through listening, pausing, and giving interviewees ample time to respond. I haven’t been able more recently to listen to PM as frequently as I used to however in doing so, I’ve always found that it is not about him, and it is instead about the subject matter and the person on the other end of the phone line.

When I read some time ago that his last PM would be in August, I put the date in my diary. Time has been flying. I need to make sure I make the most of the remaining time. A huge thanks and all the very best to him.

The hope that I have - other than that he might return to BBC at some stage - is that the date of the last PM will be as announced by the BBC in early July (17 August) rather than the date that is now mentioned in the Radio Times (10 August).

 

 

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Thanks Duck.  Chris Mason is shown as doing PM 13 to 17 August so I'm sorry to say 10 August is Eddie's last PM broadcast.  The new Radio Times also has some reflections from Eddie and confirmation about 10 August and his (forlorn) hope that his last programme is simply another edition.  The article still has his 'Read Eddie Mair every week in the Radio Times' at the foot but we'll have to see what happens in the next issue (18 August).

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Oh, thank you, John. So sorry to read it is indeed 10 August, so that's another reason to ensure I do tune in for the remainder of this week, and equally to say thank you so much for highlighting.

 

 

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Only if you're Boris Johnson and you realise Eddie has bothered to prepare for the interview and your attempts to wing it will fail - I recall Eddie quizzing Johnson about the Conservative party's manifesto and it was obvious that Johnson's grasp of the subject was based at best on a quick flick through the pages (checking if he featured in any photos?) but he had not read anything.

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So Eddie calls in sick for Thursday and Friday and avoids his broadcast leaving do - inimitable to the last.  I've rather liked the last few minutes of Sue MacGregor, Jim Naughtie and Sarah Montague saying their goodbyes on Today in recent years but Eddie clearly didn't wish to put himself in that position and is happy to argue the programme is more important than a presenter - I can almost hear the 'here today, gone tomorrow' aspersion.  But Eddie has been the lead PM presenter for 20 years and I'd have welcomed something more reflective from him and his colleagues.  Perhaps Eddie prefers the written word rather than being the interviewee when it comes to more personal reflections and we'll just have to wait for a new edition of 'A Good Face for Radio'.  I can sympathise to some extent but it seems a little ironic that the master interviewer who puts so many people at ease enabling them to tell their stories so lucidly and unhurriedly is uncomfortable at the prospect of swapping roles.  Perhaps it's a recognition of the vacuum left at the BBC following Eddie's resignation, although I'm increasingly impressed with Paddy O'Connell on Broadcasting House and A Life's Work where I thought his recent handling of the discussion with the funeral directors was excellent.  Paddy helping Eddie say his goodbyes to PM was what I must say I was hoping for as I doubt if even Eddie would interview himself ... at least for public broadcast.  As I say truly inimitable and many thanks Eddie for 20 years of PM, including bringing much needed sunshine. So perhaps Wednesday's finale was fitting, even if the audience would only understand when hearing later of Eddie's 48 hour 'cold'.

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I see Eddie is still writing fur Radio Times and he suggests he might have a column next week, although I'm now not sure in light of recent events if this is a bit of a tease.  I always think of the Radio Times as being a BBC magazine but of course it's been much more than that for many years and rather good to see that from 18 August it's actually printing LBC schedules.

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The Radio Times has been completely independent of the BBC for a long time now, John.

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