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Monday, May 23, 2005
Let's do the 1970s time warp again

The British left has an endless supply of eccentrics and, I suspect, liars who will claim that, goodness no, the BBC's angle on the news in no way resembles that of the Guardian newspaper. Goodness no, its newsmakers and presenters couldn't be approaching issues from a left-liberal perspective. But is it, perhaps, not too much to hope that even they might have cause to wonder why it is - if this is the case - that as soon as the opportunity of a strike within the BBC emerges, their language and their (uttered with a dying breath) "must ... protect ... sanctity of ... picket line!" mentality is so uniformly Scargillite?

A strike today by up to 11,000 BBC journalists, producers and technicians over a move to cut 4,000 jobs will drastically alter radio and TV schedules.

... The 24-hour strike ends at midnight tonight, followed by a 48-hour stoppage next week.

... Darren Jordan, a regular on the One O'Clock News, has been lined up to present some of the main bulletins, but was believed to still deciding whether to work last night. In the last big strike in 1989, Nicholas Witchell was branded a scab for reading the Six O'Clock News.

... George Alagiah was scheduled to present this show today, but will not cross the picket line. Other well-known presenters refusing to work include Fiona Bruce, Moira Stewart and Sian Williams.

... The BBC will attempt to air some news in place of the Breakfast show, although regulars Dermot Murnaghan and Natasha Kaplinsky will not cross the picket line and the show will be drastically cut.

BBC2's late night Newsnight will be off air. Jeremy Paxman has already questioned the validity of the cuts, which Mr Thompson argues are essential to remodel the BBC for the digital age and convince the government to hand it a generous licence fee settlement.

... Radio 5 Live stars Nicky Campbell and Victoria Derbyshire will not work, but the network is determined to continue coverage of the British Lions against Argentina from Cardiff tonight.

UPDATE: I was too moderate in my post above! The Guardian actually opposes the strike, so on this issue at least the BBC is to the left of the Grauniad!

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