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TV: R is for...

Right to Reply

FETED – AND ultimately fated – come-and-have-a-go drop-in centre for viewers seeking to take programme-makers “to task”. Licensed whingeathon and nit-pickery that squatted on Saturday nights for ages until being shoved up against CORONATION STREET by way of a death sentence. Notoriously predicated towards featuring shouty point-scoring campaigners or camera-shy housewives, it didn’t really take off in the national psyche until the arrival of the Video Box in the mid-80s: passport photo-esque booths with cameras inside dotted around the country, which you could pop into and leave your comments for the TV suits. Cue hesitant pleas from gawky loners, protracted rants from pensioners, swearing and pretend rapping from kids, and “humorous” celebrity cameos from the likes of ALEXEI SAYLE and, er, JEREMY ISAACS. GUS MACDONALD was your first and most boring host, later succeeded by BRIAN HAYES (avuncular), SHEENA MACDONALD (blousy) and ROGER BOLTON (pompous). In its dying days it became a dreadful stamping ground for media student wannabes fronting WATCHDOG-esque “exposes” on the inadequacies of Avid edit suites and such like. Cursed by a stream of inconsistent theme tunes, including one sounding like a man with a suitcase full of bricks tumbling slowly down a staircase. Famously the only programme ever produced by Channel 4 itself. Then they axed it. Boo!

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Glenn A

    July 11, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Often featured some outraged feminist Guardian reading type complaining about a Channel 4 debate that hardly anyone watched and bemoaning the lack of blacks, gays, lesbians and single parents in the audience or some perceived sexism when Jon Snow said chairman instead of chairperson on the news. Apart from the comedy value, you got the impression these joyless middle class lefties had nothing better to do than watch programmes no one else watched and moan about issues that no one cared about except them.

  2. Chris Hughes

    July 11, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    “Often featured some outraged feminist Guardian reading type.”

    No it didn’t. And there’s nothing wrong with being a feminist or reading the Guardian.

  3. Mags

    July 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Wasn’t this ‘famously’ where Alexei Sayle buggered up his career by asking for a job and calling Jeremy Issac’s a c**t?

  4. David Smith

    May 10, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Also hosted for a while by Rory McGrath and Linda Agran (only reminded of the latter while verifying the former on IMDB)

  5. David Pascoe

    May 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    John Walters requested that the theme tune to Right to Reply (circa 1992) go into Room 101 when he appeared on the radio version. Nick Hancock turned the request down.

  6. Glenn A

    January 4, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    An interesting one was when a London pearly queen appeared complaining about ITV ditching the wrestling. It had all sorts on, from some kids doing a rap about American football to pearly queens.

  7. steve gray

    March 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    As I recall, there’d be two main types of contribution to the programme

    1) Someone from a charity, eg mencap, saying ‘You’re raising awareness with that programme but you’ve done it wrong and done more harm than good for the people I’m here on behalf of. Why didn’t you invite me onto the production team as a Special Executive Producer? I could’ve taught you something… But oh, no- not you- you think you know better, etc.’

    2) An old man (in the video box) saying ‘Young people have too many programmes catering to their interests- what with all the whip-pans, snazzy graphics and NUDITY and loose morals and ethnic people.. I nearly have a stroke. Your programmes are killing me- do you want to be a murderer? Young people should have the kind of entertainment that those of my generation deem to be suitable for them. i.e. They. Should. Have. None. !!!

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