October 10, 2008 by Norman Lebrecht
The guest on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs this morning was David McVicar. He was introduced by Kirsty Young with a text that read something like ‘at 42, he has long been regarded as the leading British opera director of his generation … he is so busy around the world that his diary is filled up to 2013.’
I can’t give you the exact words of the introduction since the programme is one of the very few that is not available on the BBc i-player, for reasons of ‘rights ownership.’
However, I refuse to believe that a journalist of Kirsty Young’s experience would recycle blether like this from a semi-literate press release and put it at the top of her show. Presumably some assistant producer or intern was assigned to the script.
The vacancy of that opening statement just takes the breath away. If McVicar was not a leader in his generation, what the hell was was he doing on a fame show like Desert Island Discs? For heaven’s sake, tell the listeners something they don’t know. And if his diary was not full until 2013 in a milieu where engagements are made 4-7 years in advance, he would be effectively unemployed and unworthy of appearing on the island. A glaring oxymoron and another waste of breath.
Does no-one at Radio 4 read the scripts before they go out on air? This sounds like amateur radio, and it’s supposed to be a BBC flagship programme.
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