In Praise of Clare

Howard Bowden, head of news, Clarion Communications

Dear Clare, I admit it: I got you all wrong.  We somehow never saw eye to eye in the past, because - and I’ll be frank here - I always thought you were a bit horsey, and a bit posho, and mainly because whenever I turned over to find you on BBC1 on a Saturday it meant I’d just missed Football Focus.

And then we had the Olympic Games - and as we all now know, you played an absolute blinder.

It wasn’t just you, of course; fresh from the stinging criticism of its Jubilee coverage, the BBC turned in a fairly phenomenal performance over the fortnight; yeah, yeah, it was the first Red button Olympics, and the first Social Media Olympics - but the daytime and evening output on the main BBC TV channels seemed to strike a perfect chord with the nation day after day.

The best quote I’ve seen on the coverage itself came from The Sun’s godlike TV critic Ally Ross (I am a fan), after he spent a day watching the Corporation’s output during the Games: ‘the remarkable thing about my 15-hour live TV vigil wasn’t the five per cent they got wrong, it was the 95 per cent they got absolutely right, including the tone.’  Praise indeed.

And at the heart of it was Clare, who - at the risk of sounding like a Daily Express editorial - described and shared pretty much to perfection the nation’s excitement, pride, tears and joy. Bloody hell, maybe we’re not all as cynical as we thought.

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