Enough of the graphics BBC News – just give me the news

Radio Times TV editor Alison Graham is falling out of love with the BBC News channel


Oh BBC News channel, stop it, will you, you’re giving me a headache. I’m so tired of being bombarded with your toys. Put them back in the cupboard and leave me in peace.


Let me be clear; watching/listening to the news isn’t just second nature to me, it’s first nature. Nothing much on the telly? OK, let’s put the BBC News channel on.

But I’m starting to bristle, there’s too much happening. Not just in the world at the moment, most of which is ghastly, but actually on screen. I saw a recent item on the BBC News about an increase in the number of armed police officers on London’s streets. This is of course of profound interest, particularly to anyone such as me who’s unfortunate enough to live in London. There were interviews with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and with a representative from the Police Federation.

They clearly both had much of great relevance to say, but this passed me by because I was distracted by pop-up info boxes. Two of them, one on top of the other, giving me the lowdown on two different aspects of the story in rapid-eye-blink fact-bits with pointy arrows and stats. What am I supposed to be doing? Listening to your interviewees and examining what they are saying while also looking at and absorbing the implications of these boxettes, not to mention the BREAKING NEWS banner and the constant ticker-tape running along the bottom with the headlines and those demands to Tweet, email, smoke-signal, Aldis Lamp, send-a-pigeon-with-your-views-and-pictures. Clutter, clutter, clutter.

Honestly, I have no interest in the views of anyone who emails their thoughts to television news shows or these ceaseless pleas for personal engagement and interaction. It’s news, not a cake-making contest in the village hall.

But apart from that, really, stop it, stop hurling news-bites at me as if they are mud pies. I know you can do all of this clever wizardy stuff and you must be proud and pleased with yourselves. But you don’t need to do it all at once.

At this point it’s probably worth mentioning that I’m not a moorland sheep, I don’t have a teeny-weeny brain that leaves me unable to a) multitask and b) remember the location of the hole in the dry-stone wall through which I leapt right into the path of an oncoming car.


I’m a reasonably clever, switched-on person who likes to absorb information and to think about things. I can do this quite nicely, thank you, when interviewees are interviewed and I’m allowed to listen. Running all the on-screen blether too, is like asking me to watch Swan Lake while a troupe of clowns is trying to squeeze into a Mini at the side of the stage.