With the future of the BBC at stake and a government that has shown signs of wanting to slim down the Corporation, Rob McLoughlin has written an assessment of what the future holds for the BBC.
Are we about to see the appointment of the last Chair of the BBC?
You can read Rob’s in-depth article on the Prolific North website.
Rob McLoughlin delivered a speech at the opening of new property loan company HS CREDIT on Thursday 5th March which is based inside the new Mercedes Benz complex in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Rob spoke about the plans by former Chancellor Sajid David and the outlook for the North of England as he previewed the Budget and reviewed the direction of government pointing out some apparent contradictions in policy.
He even encouraged the audience to try the movements from ‘Tragedy’ by the band Steps as he recalled the role Steve Jennings, host and CEO of the new company, played in the creation of two charities which raised millions in the 1990s for young people in the Granada TV region.
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 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.
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.