Radio 4, Desert Island Discs, Feedback and How to Look Good Naked.

kev By kev, 13th Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/d-_isu.z/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Media

A few feathers were ruffled by the appearance of Gok Wan on Desert Island Discs (DIDs) this week. Gok's achievements, described by one listener as 'slight and unimportant', prompts Kev to ask if the makers of the programme are being sucked into the vortex of Celebrity culture. Plus, evidence and conclusions based on Kev's own research of past guests.

What happened.

Gok Wan appeared on DIDs and amongst other talk, described the clothes he was wearing - he called the look 'country casual'. He also described how, when younger, he lost 10 stones over 9 months and being 'fat, Chinese and gay' made him a candidate for public funding.

What listeners said.

Listeners to the 'Feedback' programme were mostly against his appearance (on the programme). One listener described the programme as a '.....sort of dumbing down' and had to switch it off. Another said that Gok 'had not travelled far enough emotionally to justify this honour and scrutiny' (of being a guest on the programme).

What DIDs management said.

'Feedback' presenter Roger Bolton asked if there was a tendency for DIDs to go for celebrity, should the pool of guests be extended to the interesting but unknown, and is the producer determined to gather younger listeners?

The programme responded with a statement:
'We broadcast 42 editions of DIDs each year and we aim to find a range of Castaways across each series that will appeal to our very large and broad audience. Our Castaways don't have to be celebrities or household names but they should have reached a position of some standing within their own field and lived a rich and interesting life.

Our recent broadcasts have included the academic Mary Beard, illustrator Jan Pienkowski and the opera director John Copley. All people whose lives are lived far away from Celebrity culture but whose programmes were rich and fascinating.

Our youngest Castaway in the current series has been the round the world yachts woman Helen Mcarthur and her programme was absolutely gripping. Equally we're very proud of the older Castaways we record with and are pleased that the 90 year old actress Jane Spencer who plays Peggy Woolley in 'The Archers' will be among our next few programmes'.

What my 'study' revealed.

Did this response answer the questions? I decided to examine and compare the guest list between 2007 and today (as archived on the DIDs website) and classify each guest as shown below. Here are my results:

Status of guest's achievements.....2007.....................2009/10
-slight and unimportant.....................26..............................29
-middling.............................................5................................7
-significant and important..................10...............................5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-appealing to the young......................4...............................3

Based on this 'evidence', it does indeed appear that there is some 'dumbing down' since 2007. But because of the subjective nature of the classification of Castaways, (e.g. are Seb Coe's achievements important or unimportant?) more research is needed.

Tags

Bbc Iplayer, Broadcasting, Celebrities, Celebrity, Celebrity Culture, Celebrity Style, Channel 4, Desert Island Discs, Feedback, Gok Wan, Media, Podcast, Radio, Radio 4, Stylist, Television

Meet the author

author avatar kev
I'll try not to make my writing too cathartic but it does you good to get things off your chest. I was lucky enough to retire early. I like preservation railways & books.

Share this page

moderator Sam Wormleighton moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar kev
14th Feb 2010 (#)

Perhaps I should have mentioned that Gok Wan is the presenter of Channel 4's 'How to Look Good Naked'.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Nick
19th Feb 2010 (#)

Interesting study - I'd have presumed a much bigger gap. I'd love to see the comparison between 1997 and today though

Reply to this comment

author avatar kev
19th Feb 2010 (#)

If I can find a source detailing Castaways back to 1997, I might have a go. (Wikipedia seems patchy).
My main problem though, is the classification of achievement in terms of importance. I think that may be insoluble. However, so long as I apply MY definition of importance consistently, then the results should have meaning.

Reply to this comment

author avatar kev
19th Feb 2010 (#)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1251553/Gok-Wans-appearance-Radio-4s-Desert-Island-Discs-met-fury.html

Reply to this comment

author avatar kev
19th Feb 2010 (#)

http://www.rantingandrabin.com/?p=44

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password