‘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.”
Rob appeared on BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship breakfast programme, Good Morning Scotland, to discuss the controversy around the ITV Leaders Debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn (Tuesday 19 November 2019).
It followed the court rulings which ended hopes of the SNP and Lib-Dems of appearing alongside the other two candidates.
Rob said he had ‘bumped’ into Alistair Campbell (Tony Blair’s former spin doctor) in the BBC reception and they reminisced on how many times Labour had threatened to injunct Rob and Granada TV over election coverage starting back in 1995 with the Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election and it continued with other political parties as well.
‘It’s always difficult’, Rob said, ‘tensions rise during elections, but with so many outlets and programmes it’s important broadcasters have the right to invite who they wish to participate’.
He said that impartiality can be achieved over a number of programmes not just a single broadcast, but the ITV debate gives viewers across the UK the chance to see the two most likely candidates for Number 10 close up and to see if they will ‘sweat’ under pressure from questions from the audience and in the debate.
He also said that broadcasters were criticised during the referendum on the EU for simply interpreting ‘impartiality’ as giving A then B a chance to speak without the journalistic rigour of analysing what they were saying and claiming.
As a reporter, he recalled that the Representation of the People’s Act allowed candidates from the fringe to block constituency profiles which hampered coverage and that blocked the necessary rigour – over-emphasis on impartiality in a single programme did the same.
He said that there are other formats on offer which will give that reach but that he understood the SNP’s frustration in Scotland’s unique circumstances.
Rob is a former editor of political programmes for Granada TV and hosted election, political and current affairs programmes on the channel from 1994 to 2016.