1 May 2010

The Art of the Public Address

Given the BBC's shift away from playing anything much from political speeches on its main news programmes (for more on which see links below), I'm wondering whether it was deliberate irony on the part of Radio 4's schedulers t0 broadcast a light-hearted investigation into The Art of the Public Address by Laurie Taylor - today, with less than a week to go before polling day.

I knew the programme was in the pipeline, as I make a brief appearance in it as a 'straight man' to Arthur Smith's comedy lines. And I confess to being mildly disappointed that my favourite PA announcement didn't survive the editor's cut. It came on the platform of Bath Spa station on a very rainy day, when those of us 'alighting' from the train were told:

"First Great Western apologises for delays to West-bound trains, which are being caused by a herd of goats sheltering in the Severn tunnel."

But I was very pleased to have made a more positive contribution as an amateur talent scout. On my way home after being interviewed by Laurie, I came across Scott, a particularly impressive PA announcer on the platform of a London Tube station, persuaded him to give me his phone number and emailed it to the producer - my debut as a casting consultant, and Scott's debut on BBC Radio 4.

Related posts on UK media coverage (or lack of it) of speeches

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