Thursday, March 20, 2003

And so the war begins. The enemy could be said to have won the first round, bringing out the heavy artillery and the dirty tricks.

Yes, ITV1 scored heavily over the BBC, replacing its scheduled morning programmes with a gripping special report featuring tense live updates from Kuwait and Baghdad. No doubt BBC News 24 provided round-the-clock coverage, but BBC1 plodded on with its standard fare. This perhaps shows the investment the BBC has placed in digital - if you want to know what's going on in the world, you'll upgrade. Otherwise, it's Kilroy baiting families who can't stand each other.

ITV1 brought us dramatic reports from hotel balconies, complete with air raid sirens and the ever-present threat of incoming missiles. It was clear no-one really knew what going on. Was that an air raid siren or the all-clear? ITV made the most of the ratings-grabbing drama. "John," said the studio-based anchor to a foreign correspondent, "some of our previous reporters put their gas masks on. Don't you think you should?"

The hotel in Kuwait City used as an ITV base received an evacuation order, but the reporter struggled on for a few more vital minutes. At the end of one siren-filled report, an exasperated off-camera voice could be heard to say, "Have you finished now?"

Incidentally, just how old is the BBC's Rageh Omaar? He looks about twelve.

No comments: