I’ve just got back from appearing on what it turns out was the last ever Blogger TV. 18 Doughty Street is, well, the best way I can think of putting it is that it is about to enter a chrysalis from which it will spend the next couple of months changing into something else. Whether it emerges into a beautiful butterfly or a moth remains to be seen.
In all seriousness, I’m pleased for them. It certainly does appear that this is a move forward. Their studios are to move to Westminster, they’re planning to step up the news content and concentrate more on the on demand side and less on the live side. All of these moves seem sensible – I for one have never watched it live but will frequently dip into the on demand service.
The channel itself has changed significantly over the past year. 12 months ago it was all about attack ads and most of their presenters were so embedded within the Conservative Party that they might as well have been called Thatcher. But I’ve been very conscious of the fact that over the past few months since I’ve been going on (which thinking about it has been pretty much a year) the times when I’ve been outnumbered 4-to-1 by Tories has become much less the norm. There has been a self-conscious and sincere attempt to bring it out of the Tory TV image it had to start with. Equally self-conscious and sincere has been the attempt to bring new political voices to the force – not just bloggers – and to talk about political issues at a level of depth that you simply don’t find on mainstream television.
My personal highlight? Going on the Doughty News Hour with Donal Blaney to discuss the Human Rights Act. It’s up to others to judge who won that particular fight, but I certainly enjoyed every minute of it.
My personal low point? Erm, possibly tonight, where I totally over-stretched discussing the Lib Dem leadership election and exploring my own views on air rather than consolidating my position with two Conservative commentators beside me itching to tear my argument to shreds. In short, doing exactly what I was bemoaning about Nick Clegg doing on GMTV this Sunday – live television is not the place to navel gaze! I blame the pork stew I had at the Duke of Cornwall in Islington just before. Never do Doughty Street on a full stomach; you need to be hungry!