Tim Luckhurst
7,30 MB
27 Sep 2001

This is "Today"... : A Biography of the "Today" Programme is a great book. This book is written by author Tim Luckhurst. You can read the This is "Today"... : A Biography of the "Today" Programme book on our website in any convenient format!

It is what millions of people in Britain wake up to every morning: the radio programme that starts their day, and sends them off to the office or to take the children to school infuriated, amused, exasperated, eniightened - but above ail informed. Though you might frown at the blood sport of John Humphreys interrogating a hapless cabinet minister, or wince at the homespun philosophising of 'Thought for the Day', Today could no more be dispensed with than the first cup of coffee. It is listened to in Downing Street, in far-flung British embassies, and by foreign ambassadors to the UK seeking to gauge the national mood. So how have these three hours of radio, from six till nine, come to assume such a central part of British political, cultural - and indeed everyday - life? Now, Tim Lucknurst, himself once a producer of the programme, has written the most authoritative anatomy of the phenomenon that is Today. He reveals how what we nowadays value for its hard news exposes and political interrogations began life as an undistinguished miscellany of light news under the avuncular Jack DeManio.He traces Today's move to the political centre-stage back to the Thatcherite eighties, when radical and ruthless social upheaval found its match in the unabashed truculence of Brian Redhead. He evaluates less-universally-venerated Today traditions like 'Thought for the Day' (accused of cosiness and even homophobia) and 'Person of the Year' (frequently fixed). And he unearths obscure Today landmarks like Sue MacGregor's leather trousers and the self-operated studio behind the Scottish newsagents where Alan Beith can be interviewed at 5.30 in the morning. But above all he considers the power that the Today programme has come to wield in the national agenda, and the consequent huge pressures on the BBC from a political establishment seeking to limit or control its influence. This is Today...therefore shows the alarming extent of New Labour's obsession with the programme, and Alastair Campbell's attempts to spin its output favourably; it discovers, fascinatingly, how Mrs Thatcher came to be so abreast of Today's daily coverage that one morning she rang in to insist on being interviewed; and it paints the unedifying battleground created when the Today programme has to cover a modern General Election.Controversial and trenchant, in the genre of books like Servants of the People, This is a superb work of contemporary history.

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