The day when Mrs Thatcher apologised (twice) for what she said in an interview

I've made the point in an number of recent posts (e.g. HERE and HERE) that radio and television interviews seldom generate anything but bad news for politicians - but only hit the headlines if the interviewee slips up and says something that the rest of the media thinks worth reporting.

One of the most spectacular cases of such a gaffe came when David Dimbleby was interviewing Mrs Thatcher two or three nights before polling day in the 1987 general election - in which she referred to people who "just drool and drivel they care".

Dimbleby immediately picked up on her choice of words, in response to which she apologised (twice) whilst revising what she had said.

The drool and drivel sequence was quite widely replayed and reported elsewhere in the media but, luckily for her, it happened so close to polling day that there wasn't time for a big story to brew up and it had little or no impact on the eventual result.


· Do interviews ever deliver anything but bad news for politicians and boredom for audiences?

· Will the 2010 UK general election be the first one to leave us speechless?

· Two more straight answers from Mandelson - about failed coups and the PM's rages

· Mandelson gives two straight answers to two of Paxman’s questions

· Rare video clip of a politician giving 5 straight answers to 5 consecutive questions

· Politician answers a question: an exception that proves the rule

· A Tory leader's three evasive answers to the same question

· Gordon Brown's interview technique: the tip of a tedious iceberg

· A prime minister who openly refused to answer an interviewer’s questions

· Why it's so easy for politicians not to answer interviewers' questions - and what should be done about it

· Why has Gordon Brown become a regular on the Today programme?

· Interview techniques, politicians and how we judge them


Mark Pack said...

Aside from it being close to polling day, the other factor that helped Mrs Thatcher I think is that in the pre-YouTube, pre-home DVD recorders etc. age news video clips rarely got recycled and more widely circulated.

A similar blunder now would generate a huge online buzz and repeated viewings.

Duncan Stott said...

I can't imagine any current generation of politician apologising so quickly and easily.

But perhaps her immediately apology helped neuter the incident. It's much harder for the opposition to make political hay out of the situation if an apology has already been made.

OldSlaughter said...

No biggy.

At least she did not suggest those requiring care were drooling. That would have gone down a little worse I think.