Shamik Das

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is Brother Mason the voice of Big Brother?

Daaay threeeee of the economics panel: Ruuuuth Lea tells Ken Clarke she fanciesssss him

PAUL MASON, the economics editor of Newsnight, has been stealing the show lately, trumping Michael Crick to become the must-watch reporter on the BBC's flagship current affairs programme.

Be it his unflappable chairing of the Newsnight economics panel - keeping a lid on the simmering sexual tension between Ken Clarke and Ruth Lea - his impeccable contacts in the unions or his devastating critique of US capitalism, his ability to connect with the common man marks him out.

His talents don't end there, however, with a career as a voice-over artist beckoning whenever he decides to hang up his notebook, his guttural Manc vowels sounding suspicously like the Geordie accent of the Big Brother narrator.

You half expect him to come out with lines like "day two of the TUC conference, and Brendan Barber has taken a break from meetings to come to the diary room to tell us why he thinks Alastair Darling's a
grey-haired, black-eyebrowed little ****".

Father Ian Kerr  Paul Mason  Michael Howard MP

But it isn't all Mason; there've been some classic episodes of Newsnight this week, including a quite breathtaking debate between the biographer of Cardinal Newman, Ian Kerr, and gay agitator Peter Tatchell, during which Father Kerr was seen talking on his mobile phone, to the obvious disgust of Jeremy Paxman, presumably getting orders from Rome on how to rebutt Tatchell's claims that Newman was a homosexual.

Yesterday witnessed the welcome return of Mark Urban, Newsnight's diplomatic correspondent, live in Baghdad, as well as a haunting,
behind-the-scenes portrait of US forces in action in Iraq, including testimony from Sergeant John Aragon, who died during filming.

Earlier, there was another old favourite returning to the show, as Michael Howard, seemingly recovered from his savaging at the hands of Paxo over the Derek Lewis affair, up against Roy Hattersly, winning hands down on the subject of Gordon Brown's leadership.

There was even time on last night's show for a discussion on the LHC project at CERN between the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Sir David King, and former D-Ream keyboard player and professor of particle physics at Manchester University, the baby-faced 40-year-old Brian Cox.

The programme wound up with Paxman returning to Mason, who'd swapped Brighton for Washington to bring us the breaking news on the collapse of Lehmann Brothers, plus all the latest on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

They may have lost the legendary Charles Wheeler, head girl Stephanie Flanders and bright-eyed Evan Davis to death, The Ten O'Clock News and Today respectively, but with Mason, Paxo, Crick, Urban, Gavin Esler, David Grossman, Tom Carver and Susan Watts, Newsnight remains the current affairs programme nonpareil.

Comrade Mason's blog


Anonymous corrections r us said...

Fr Ker was speaking to Paxman through his mobile phone because the BBC technicians screwed up the link. Paxman's disgust was pretty clearly directed at Newsnight's technical problems, as you might've noticed if you hadn't been blinded by apparent hatred of Catholicism.

23 September, 2008 02:14


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