The Cambridge Geek

Where's the F in News?

[UPDATE - 8th March 2019]: Since this was one of my most commented posts, thought I'd best do a brief update for this show's second series.

I can't say I was looking forward to it, mostly because of Julia Hartley-Brewer, who is one of those "outrage" opinionists, in the vein of Katie Hopkins or Piers Morgan. Luckily, she only had a single pop about our current act of nationalist self-harm, so not too terrible.

Otherwise, this needs a slight swivel on my part to appreciate it properly. It first aired in the 6.30 comedy slot, and that teed me up for a more frivolous work. (Admittedly, those are usually my favourite works.) Instead I think it's settling more solidly as a radio version of Loose Women. As such, not necessarily for me, but certainly space for it, and I would say it does a decent job of sitting in that gap.

[UPDATE - 20th July 2018]: Now has a full series. Trimmed down a little to give it more focus, has a good clip and pretty funny. (I'm especially fond of Zoe Lyons). Might need a bit less of the host simply doing the jokes to allow the panel to get more airtime. Did make me realise though how much of the news is read straight across from things popular on twitter nowadays.

[ORIGINAL - 20th December 2017]: This appears to be a variation of The News Quiz, but with an increased focus on the relevance of the news stories to the panellists' lives. And two extra people. One of whom is a token man, rather than the usual token woman. (Admittedly, The News Quiz has been rather better for this than some, which was possibly the Sandi Toksvig effect.)

So we have a slight twist on the style here, with an increased focus on the feminist elements of the news. Funny, but a little diluted by the relatively large number of people involved. Radio has settled firmly on four plus host as the standard, and driving away from that requires a good reason and strict control. Control was provided by the host, Jo Bunting, but it felt like she needed to keep pushing along to ensure no one guest took too much time, and that every panellist contributed.

As a pilot, they can have a bit of a tinker with a format, but wouldn't be surprised if it dropped back to four if a series appears. That would allow them to lose the spare bloke and just run all women. There's certainly space for that, and it'd make a nice change.

Not a bad start to a possible new series, as long as it can distance itself a little further from The News Quiz. Games like "Star Wars Quotation or EU Negotiation" might help with that. And the guests were certainly funny. Fair few entertainingly mad family anecdotes. Worth a listen.


Tagged: Radio Comedy Cast Panel News/Political