Tuesday, 13 October 2015





BRADBY BRILLIANCE


The news is forever changing. Not just the news itself, but the way it is presented to us the public. 

Before, during and for quite a while after WWII, news outlets used to present news in a very stilted sort of manner. It was very public school and is commonly known as Received Pronunciation/Oxford English. It's what Martin Bell would have called the speech of the officer class. The Pathe news reels, which were excellent, are a good example. 

Even during the seventies and the early eighties news organisations, especially the BBC, were still using a milder form of this kind of presentation. If you've seen a report by Kate Adie, you will know exactly what I mean. 

Of course a journalist's talent is not based on the way he/she speaks. A good journalist will be exactly that regardless of accent or anything else. 

Things were moving on and received pronunciation, though it sounded polite and precise, was becoming very old fashioned. 

Even though there are companies like the BBC who still tend to favour - if only slightly - this kind of speech, the presentation is much more relaxed than it used to be.

The last person on ITV News to use any form of "clipped script" and "clipped accent" was the brilliant Sir Trevor McDonald. After he retired from ITV News, things started to relax a little and the newsreaders, now two at a time, were using a more conversational and friendly style. 

They were still presenting us with the five W's and H, as these are the basis for all news reports, but the newsreaders were actually talking to us, rather than just reeling off a load of facts, which can become tedious. And they weren't just talking to us, they were talking to each other too.  

Which is where our Mr Bradby comes into the picture.

When it comes to modern,  relaxed and un-clipped speech, no-one has a better grasp of it than Tom Bradby.  

Bill Neely once said, "Tom's style is very conversational. He'll often start a piece just saying [for example], "Imagine you're the Prime Minister...". He would have been thrown out of ITN, the BBC and everywhere else, thirty years ago, for starting a piece like that!"

And that's the thing. Not only is it relaxed, it brings fun to news.

He has now been given the News at Ten slot, in the old format of one single presenter. The format may be old, but the stilted style has gone.

Here we have a bright, bubbly, and more to the point, accessible journalist, which makes the news accessible as well.

On 12 October, Tom Bradby did his first ever News at Ten. He immediately pulled me in. His style was friendly, punchy and lively. 

This is what news really needs.

Of course, a lot of people on Twitter were saying they hated this kind of presenting. They preferred it as it was. No denying that it was wonderful as it was. Alistair Stewart and Mark Austin are two of the finest journalists we have. But it was time for a new approach. And Tom nailed it!

I personally hope Tom is presenting for a long time to come. His style is fresh and brilliant. ITV News will never be the same again!

I wish Tom all the very best!!

Good luck, Tom X