David Baddiel has got an interesting idea – a Right Wing Hour on Radio 4.
Well, the speech network has Woman’s Hour after all and Baddiel tells RadioTimes.com that Auntie should admit that “there is generally a centre-left, liberal bias” to its output. And it shouldn’t apologise for it.
“People who go into the media, the people who go into the BBC, are, in general, of that kind of centre-left stamp,” he says.
“I think it might even be a good thing that the BBC admitted it was a bit centre-left and had the odd programme like Woman’s Hour – if it had Right Wing Hour,” he said.
“That is something of a joke of course… but it would be interesting if they did that, if they said ‘Okay, we’re a bit centre-left so we’re going to deliberately have things on here that aren’t’.”
As for Right Wing Hour’s potential presenters, he reckons that Michael Gove, Peter Hitchens or even, God forbid, LBC shock jock Katie Hopkins could fill the brief, yet might not be the best choices.
“[But] the people I have suggested are actually unbearable,” added Baddiel. “The BBC could do with finding a right wing person who’s not unbearable – kind of like PJ O’Rourke. He’s cool, funny and right wing – that’s quite a hard thing to find.”
“Simon Evans, for a comedian he’s more right wing, a thinking, Spectator-reading type comedian. He does this joke where he says, ‘if you’re trying to place my accent, it is of course educated.’ He’s slightly patrician. He’d be great.”
Baddiel himself says he doesn’t personally consider the labels left or right wing particularly helpful – or accurate. “As I have got older I have become completely without a political model. I don’t believe you can call yourself left wing or right wing any more, I think you have to look at individual issues. I think you can be economically pro the free market and socially very progressive. I think it’s very fractured now.”
The comedian is a regular guest on Radio 4 panel shows and was the creator and first host of Heresy in which invited guests try to over-turn received wisdom. He handed over the presenting role to Victoria Coren for series five.
Baddiel also hosted the Radio 4 programme Don’t Make Me Laugh which had listener complaints upheld by the BBC Trust for a section earlier this year in which references were made to the Queen’s sex life and which was aired on her 90th birthday.
In an official summary, the BBC Trust said: “Trustees considered that this output included personal, intrusive and derogatory comments which had exceeded the expectations of the audience.
“The offence felt was compounded by the date of the programme’s transmission… Panellists made comments about the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in a way that was personal, intrusive and demeaning.”
Speaking of the furore, Baddiel said he thought the criticisms were “very unfair”.
“People were upset I was making jokes about the Queen which I wasn’t in a way. In the context of the show it’s ‘here’s a puerile subject and you have to talk about it seriously’ and that’s the joke,” he said.
The performer is currently enjoying rave reviews with his play My Family: Not the Sitcom in which he reflects on his familial secrets. It is playing at the Vaudeville Theatre until 15th October.