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Material World - "refresh"

(13 Posts)
NetworkGuy Fri 19-Apr-13 12:43:41

Was it here on MN I saw that Quentin Cooper is being/ has been replaced in a "refresh" of the science show Material World ?

Wherever I saw it, it seems to have happened. Last week the continuity announcer said "now let's join Quentin Cooper, for Material World" > listen from approx 50 seconds in < then some chap called Gareth Mitchell said hello.

I'm assuming he is going to be the new presenter, and they hadn't wiped the notes about Quentin Cooper's background off the website, so I took a copy. (To be fair, they still have details online for Lynn Parsons who was last on Radio 2 in March 2010, so they might not wipe info about Quentin, but I took a copy just in case!)

No idea about the new guy's background, but cannot help wondering why the BBC feels it necessary to replace someone who has the experience and credentials. OK some of the jokes fall a little flat but the science content always seems to be of a high quality and Quentin is rarely stumped about what to ask next.

No doubt some producer will, if asked by Feedback, stand by the decision (or it's their own job next!) and with no proper justification try to suggest why it was "essential". Bloody BBC, they don't seem to notice when something is a real failure, while they smash to pieces what great shows they do create!

R4 Fri 19-Apr-13 19:56:27

There was a bit of a grumble on Feedback the other day because MW is a female-free zone, not just in presenter but also all the speakers. In light of that, it seems strange to replace one bloke with another.

Just done a quick google. Apparently, we knew about this back in March. I think that the beeb wanted him to go in May but it sounds like he has jumped ship early.

NetworkGuy Sat 20-Apr-13 03:58:57

"we knew about this back in March"

we, the Radio 4 listeners, we, MNetters, or we, those following Media pages of some paper such as the Grauniad ? (and how were "we" told ?)

Sorry, must go to bed so not going to try to guess what you've seen...

Yes, the lack of female voices has come up again and again, and there were mutterings about apparent unwillingness of some women to accept an invitation (while I also heard of some BBC initiative to encourage more participation, by dint of a workshop or two with leading women coming to give inspirational chat about being part of the broadcasting landscape and not to 'shy away').

NetworkGuy Sat 20-Apr-13 04:00:13

PS I should have checked before my very first post - Quentin presented the show on Thursday just gone, so he may have been ill or have had some other engagement (urgent interview?) the show before...

R4 Sat 20-Apr-13 10:52:30

"Apparently, we knew about this back in March."

This translates as:
I didn't know because I don't do sleb gossip, but if you google quentin cooper the first few suggestions include 'QC sacked' and 'QC leaving MW'. Further investigation on sundry fora shows that it was announced back in March.

NetworkGuy Sat 20-Apr-13 16:04:01


NetworkGuy Sat 20-Apr-13 16:10:12

Interesting to see he was invited by RI (probably as more of a "chairman" to handle a Q+A session for a lecture in 2011), and while looking at the RI site I hadn't know they had not been doing the series of Christmas Lectures for BBC TV for 10 years.

What an error by the BBC - no wonder science seems to get less coverage while art seems to be covered everywhere!

cumfy Sat 04-May-13 20:21:04

The last I heard, he was leaving in May.

He certainly did the 2nd May broadcast.

Still no idea who's replacing him, but suspect it may be Adam Rutherford.

Bastard moron controllers.

NetworkGuy Tue 14-May-13 14:22:20

I will never be able to find it, if it was online as "The Bottom Line" is so common in speeches, etc, but somewhere I heard/saw that the R4 show may be replaced... It was something to do with being "out of touch" with the audience, as so few of us are chief execs for multinationals which seems to be a regular choice for that show.

I lamented the scrapping of "Nice Work" (around 8 years ago, along with another show whose name I can no longer remember but talked about employment, small/ medium business situations, etc) which was axed before "The Bottom Line" came into view.

So business might go full circle (bring back "Nice Work" I say, it had a good range of speakers from both genders) and maybe they'll regret getting rid of Quentin, but I wish him well in the meantime...

cumfy Tue 14-May-13 14:49:36

Shop Talk ?

cumfy Tue 14-May-13 15:06:34

The thing I find most curious is that there has been no mention whatever of who Quentin's successor would be.

Adam Rutherford is quite good but not up to QC's standard.
The regular stand-in, Gareth Mitchell is poor.

This week's edition by him is complete crap, with a significant amount of time given to a UKIP member shock on the pros and cons of EU science funding.

He just didn't seem to get that scientists are typically going to be objective and the whole point about a science programme is that you don't need an "opposing viewpoint" as such.

Then he went on in the next piece to confuse a particle physicist as not being a particle physicist. grin

I remain hopeful that the Beeb will change its mind, and that their not naming a successor is an indication that they're having 2nd thoughts.

NetworkGuy Tue 14-May-13 21:26:41

Thanks. Yes, it was "Shop Talk" - immediately memorable now you've remembered it for me smile

We can but home the Beeb is having second thoughts... then again, they seem to rarely admit getting it wrong. They add things like the 100 greatest things which ran and ran, and I switched off when that intro music came on each day...

More recently they have had Fi Glover with these family recordings, OK in themselves, but I've been annoyed they chopped out some minutes of other, good programmes, such as Feedback, for this "indulgence".

I think the bird twitter of the day will likely cut into programmes (unless they keep it to 20 seconds and can fit it in with the continuity announcer between programmes).

NetworkGuy Tue 14-May-13 21:26:49

Also, something which constantly amazes me is that Feedback isn't on 50ish weeks of the year. They don't have to have Roger Boulton every time - if I remember correctly, didn't he stand in for Chris Dunkley.

I have to compare Feedback with the Media Show. It's OK for the BBC to devote a weekly slot to the Media (talk about navel gazing) yet when the audience is involved, they put it on some 30-something weeks of the year, alternating with things like More or Less, and then cut 5 minutes out for 'extras'... Talk about short-changing the blinking licence payers, who might want to comment on a show in the many weeks they're not on...

Aaaaaarghhhhh they make me so annoyed, and the recent bit with the news head trying to justify all the coverage for Margaret Thatcher having died... When I heard/saw the news, and listened to WatO, I knew they might devote a fair chunk of time to it. I didn't listen to PM that day, but was frankly astounded to hear the 6 o'clock news devoted to the one story (I expected them to leave it to the 2200 slot, where they could have perhaps included comments from overseas since it is, after all, called "The World Tonight"). Anyway, 30 minutes (I thought they might cover other news from half way through) seemed like plenty but then I heard on Feedback that they had put a lot more drivel into PM.

OK, I'm no fan, but nor did I dislike Mrs Thatcher, but there seemed little at the time to justify so much coverage, despite her being a significant PM in terms of the Falklands and other aspects...

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