Have I got news for you, Mr Bakhurst
Some handy hints for the former BBC man as he takes over as director of news and current affairs at RTÉ
You have to feel sorry for Kevin Bakhurst who has given up a pretty good job in the BBC – as controller of the BBC News channel and deputy head of the BBC newsroom – to become managing director of news and current affairs at RTÉ. A grateful Irish nation can only say to Mr Bakhurst: “Are you out of your mind?”
Actually, because we want to be helpful to him, we do have other things to say to Mr Bakhurst. We have some handy hints for the guy.
Mr Bakhurst, firstly, and perhaps most importantly: there is no Waitrose in Ireland. Did they not tell you that at the interview?
Secondly, Mr Bakhurst, and just between ourselves, no one understands Nuacht, so don’t you worry about it.
Please note that the sentences on the television news are too long. You can see the poor newsreaders getting panicked; the confidence drains from their faces as the sentence rolls out interminably in front of them, and then they lose heart altogether, with the verb still out of sight.
Mr Bakhurst, the language on the news isn’t Irish, but it isn’t English either. You really can’t talk about “the topliners of the West Cork Literary Festival” . Or “inspiring children to a love of science” . Repetition such as: “The private company charged with security for the Games will be charged...” is ugly. What exactly is meant by the phrase “the current history of Limerick?” All of these examples are drawn from the Six One News last Friday. And there was cleavage on there as well.
Don’t let Sharon Ní Bheoláin wear black. She is a goddess and looks so pretty in gentler colours.
It’s an awful shame that you didn’t get to work with Anne Doyle.
You know, some foreign news would be great. And a lovely change. You have a country here that has come to believe road fatalities are, if one may say so, topline stories. Radio news at the weekend is a car crash in several senses of the term.
As you stride around the television centre you may notice a small dapper man with a fondness for bright clothing and two-wheeled transport that some think betrays his years spent in variety theatre. This is our Taoiseach. Don’t startle him. He’s tired of surprises.
Mr Bakhurst, when you meet a member of the Government, call them Minister and keep calling them Minister until your tongue bleeds. There’s none of that “Call me Dave” nonsense over here. If you have a title you hang on to it. Call the Fianna Fáil guys minister as well – they’ll love you for it.
Be advised that in Ireland no one on an executive salary resigns.
There is a small but increasingly vocal minority that wants Brian Dobson to be taoiseach and Enda Kenny to read the Six One News. We all trust Brian, and Enda would be a great newsreader – he has the sternum for it.