‘Social Media is like a congested motorway with often irrational drivers prone to Road Rage’.
Rob McLoughlin was talking to Nicky Campbell following the tragic loss of Caroline Flack, long time host of the controversial Love Island on ITV2.
She took her own life after learning that a criminal case would have continued and was scheduled to have started in March 2020.
He described her death as an ‘appalling tragedy’.
Rob, a former Director of Granada Television, paid tribute to her talent stating that she made ‘it look easy’ to host complicated live entertainment shows and was trusted as an ITV face.
He revealed that many inside ITV were ‘wounded’ by claims that they had not stood by her when she stepped down from the winter series of the show and had kept the door open for a possible return pending the outcome of the case.
He said that the court case made it complicated for Caroline to continue as host and while people were making connections with other events on the series including 2 suicides, that there were external factors which make this different and stated that ITV were right to cancel the weekend’s editions of the show.
He attacked social media stating that there is often ‘no filter’ and people forget that there are human beings at the end of often horrific abuse.
‘There’s a reason radio stations in the UK and abroad have delay buttons when you open the airwaves and people, especially the young, find it difficult to switch off their social channels’.
The appearance was Rob’s fourth on FIve Live over the last few months. He’s also appeared recently on Good Morning Scotland and on BBC Radio Wales.
A few weeks ago Rob discussed the future of the BBC on Three Counties Radio following the news that Director General Tony Hall was to stand down in the summer of 2020.
A forthcoming TV documentary, Mr Speaker, about the House of Commons’ iconic role, has already revealed an exclusive.
Rob McLoughlin interviewed the new speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who revealed that he discovered he had Type 1 diabetes just days before the 2019 General Election. Full details are on the ITV news website.
The documentary is an exclusive for Carm Productions, the independent production company run by Rob, who is ITV’s longest-serving presenter of political programmes. Cameras will be following Sir Lindsay over the coming months as he adopts his new role.
“This is an astonishing moment for Britain. Our cameras are capturing the post Bercow, pre-Brexit changes as The Speaker now faces a huge government majority and demands to hold them more to account.”
For more details, visit the Prolific North website.
Rob discussed the House of Commons Media Select Committee hearings on The Jeremy Kyle Show in a live BBC Radio Five Live interview with Tony Livesey on Tuesday 25 June. Rob was invited on as a former Board Director of Granada Television.
On the station’s Drive programme, Rob said “The hostile and bruising atmosphere in the hearing with ITV executives was inevitable given the tragic death of Steve Dymond shortly after appearing in a controversial episode of the series.” (The episode in question will never be transmitted.)
Rob revealed that many people rehearse before appearing in front of Select Committees as most of the questions can be anticipated.
Rob pointed out that since their beginnings in 1960s America, those type of confessional programmes were known as ‘Tabloid TV’ and “Trash TV”. They had been developed by hosts such as Phil Donohue, Oprah Winfrey to a degree and famously Jerry Springer – but they had all but disappeared.
Rob commented that it was a shame Kyle has refused to appear in front of the committee as he has always argued an alternative case about how people have been helped. Rob said ITV would not go do down the road of using lie detectors on future programmes, given questions about their reliability. Lie detectors are inadmissible in UK courts and parts of the USA, a point that had been made clear at the hearings by CEO Dame Carolyn McCall.
Drive is produced from MediaCity UK and Rob was speaking live from New Broadcasting House in London.
It was Rob’s third appearance on the station since May 2019. In 1994 he hosted the first Weekend Breakfast Programme on 5Live with Jane Garvey.
Rob McLoughlin discussed the outcome of the BBC’s Prime Ministerial Debate in a live interview on BBC Radio Five Live’s Drive programme on Tuesday 19 June, 2019.
Rob said that it was unique in post-war Britain to have just 160,000 people (the membership of the Conservative Party) choose the Prime Minister for a party with no majority. It was clear from the televised debate that no candidate wanted to risk a General Election with Jeremy Hunt saying it should only follow Brexit.
Normally an opposition would be claiming it was unconstitutional and that the Government had no mandate but Labour have so many other issues internally that the argument is not being advanced.
Rob talked about the complexities of making a tv programme such as this with multiple candidates and joked that the format would never replace Holby City which he said “can be curious but certainly has more drama”. He described how quickly such programmes are often assembled and how difficult they can be.
On one special with John Prescott and Michael Heseltine for Granada TV, Rob recalled how Ming Campbell became stuck in a taxi. Attempts to replace Campbell with another Lib-Dem MP led to the party to threaten an injunction to stop the broadcast as they wanted parity with Labour and Tory heavyweights.
Rob commented: “You have to take it on the chin when vetting of the audience goes wrong despite best efforts – the systems are never perfect.” (This followed controversy over past tweets from one contributor to the Prime Ministerial Debate.)
Rob defended the decision to have no audience pointing out that balance across one single party was difficult to achieve. Individual audience members can sometimes stir the pot; Mrs Thatcher was famously caught off-guard over questions about the sinking of the Belgrano in an edition of Nationwide in the 1980s. Mrs Thatcher was said to have met her match when repeatedly challenged by a well-informed member of the public.
Drive is broadcast live from MediaCity UK.
Rob also appeared on the programme recently to discuss The Jeremy Kyle Show and ITV.
Rob McLoughlin discussed the tragic death which led to the cancellation of the Jeremy Kyle Show by ITV in peak time radio interviews on BBC Radio Five Live and on BBC Radio Wales.
He welcomed a Commons inquiry into ‘reality TV’ saying that ‘some good may come out of this tragedy’ as he also debated Kyle’s defence of the genre in interviews on Rob’s own radio shows.
He quoted examples from guests who had appeared on similar shows and claimed they had benefited but he recalled a conversation with one celebrity who had a ‘meltdown of sorts’ on Big Brother who he had privately suggested his planned appearance was ‘ill judged’. The celebrity eventually said the experience has been ‘cathartic’.
Rob said ITV were right to cancel the Kyle Show in the circumstances and argued that it probably didn’t match the brand values that channel aspired to.
The interviews were broadcast live and he has been asked to comment further on broadcast policy for other TV and radio programmes.
Rob was a Board Director and Senior Executive of Granada Television and a former Advisor to Granada Media and ITV plc.