fri 19/01/2018

EU Referendum Results – BBC, ITV, Sky News | reviews, news & interviews

EU Referendum Results – BBC, ITV, Sky News

EU Referendum Results – BBC, ITV, Sky News

In an evening of unexpected victories, Sky News did surprisingly well

'Start taking it down Barry, it's over'

And so we come to the end of the most spiteful, divisive and downright deceitful political campaign in living memory. And while we’re on the Ds, I’ll have disingenuous too, thanks. The remain camp was captained by a mildly Eurosceptic prime minister, who called the referendum in an attempt to secure an election victory, while Brexit has been spearheaded by a shambolic, and mildly Europhile, thatched homunculus, who simply wants the other guy’s job. We are, essentially, collateral damage in a spectacularly damaging career move.

But with the shouting is over, it’s time for the really important stuff to unfold: Would Sunderland continue its frankly unfathomable bid to return the count first; would anyone make an ill-advised pledge to eat an item of clothing; and who would call it first?

David Dimbleby was heading the team for the BBC – of course – and, as the countdown to the end of the awfulness began, it was clear that Auntie was campaigning hard on the safe ground of whizz-bang graphics. With a set that already looks like a gaudy TARDIS interior, they augmented by illuminating Broadcasting House with projections so poor and pointless they may as well have shone a torch through a stencil. There was also a whole new range of frankly unfathomable graphics for Jeremy Vine (pictured below) to trip over. The visual element is supposed to be crucial to our understanding, but when a posh slide rule needs 10 minutes of explanation and still leaves Labour deputy leader Tom Watson shaking his head, it might be an indicator that something has gone very wrong indeed.

Jeremy VineNot to be outdone, ITV, fronted by Tom Bradby looking every inch the Olly Murs of the political stage, introduced… THE PROBABILITY GRAPH! However, after a brief summary, it became clear that a better name might be "the stab-in-the-dark guess-maths grid".

Only Sky News, playing to referendum type by having, in Adam Boulton and Kay Burley, two broadly unlikeable characters to front their campaign, seemed intent on giving us any actual news. They did this well and, by avoiding lengthy explanations of how they would convey the figures without resorting to actually conveying the figures, had the time to let people in locations across the UK talk engagingly and at length about local concerns and factors that could influence the outcome. This was consistently the most illuminating coverage of the night.

A lot of what we saw, of course, felt like a straight rerun of last May. The polls were wrong, early calls were taken back – and there were far too many callbacks to "Ashdown’s hat". While I’ll never get used to watching Robert Peston on ITV (it’s like seeing Wayne Rooney in a Liverpool strip) he was as engaging as ever – when he wasn’t checking his phone, that is. Perhaps the channel’s exclusive interview with disgraced former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was, in fact, a carefully planned ruse to get Peston to put his mobile away sharpish. Coulson’s got form, after all.

Despite these points of difference, however, much of what transpired was down to events themselves rather than how they were packaged. As it became clear that the split was going to be almost down the middle, for half the country, picking a channel to watch the results unfold was like choosing the window through which you'd most like three tonnes of slurry to be poured into your house. Quite fitting given the omnipresence, after a certain time, of Nigel Farage, a man whose campaign has been the political equivalent of farting loudly then looking round with a wink and proclaiming, “Better out than in, eh?”

Picking a channel to watch the results unfold was like choosing the window through which you would most like three tonnes of slurry to be poured

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters