Sunday, 2 August 2009

Another in the series "Is it just me?"

Is it just me or have the weather forecast and the news swapped places?

Once upon a time, you turned on the news and it told you what had happened today. Or, if it was especially exciting, what was happening RIGHT NOW! After your update on what had happened, the weather forecast came on and it told you what the weather was going to be like either later today (for a morning broadcast) or tomorrow (for an evening one).

Recently however, these two seem to have switched. Maybe there is some sort of exchange programme between the BBC news department and the Met Office. Whatever the cause, I don't like the result.

Nowadays, if you turn on the news you are likely to be told what is going to be happening. You will get, for example, a preview of what is likely to be in the Chancellor's budget statement tomorrow. Or what the Chairman of the Bank of England is expected to say about the economy AND what the Prime Minister is likely to say in response. Tomorrow. Or, even worse, you will get something that barely qualifies as a news programme and is in fact a thinly-disguised trailer for some documentary programme the Beeb is showing later. In other words, advertising. You can always spot these so-called "news stories": they will be followed by the words "Viewers in (insert region here) can see more on that story at 10.30 tonight". That's not news, that's CHEATING.

The news-that-isn't will then be followed by the weather. And what do the weather forecasters tell you these days? They tell you what the weather is doing NOW. With a spiffy computerised sequence swooping around the country showing you what the weather is like in all the places you aren't. (It need hardly be said that their information about what your current weather is doing is almost invariably wrong.) No-one seems to have told the Met Office that you can tell what the weather is doing now by the simple expedient of looking out of the window. I just looked on the BBC weather website and its front page showed me a map of the weather over Britain. At 6pm on Sunday. As I type, it is just after 9pm on Sunday. If anyone can tell me what sort of person desparately needs to know what the weather was like 3 hours ago, I would be grateful.

Even more excitingly, they sometimes show photographs of weather sent in by viewers. In other words, "Here is what the weather looked like 12 hours ago out of some complete stranger's living room window". Again, cheating.

I want to go back to when the news was read by serious men in suits, sitting (yes SITTING, not lounging around leaning on the furniture) behind proper desks and speaking RP english. And then I want the weather presented by a bloke in an ill-advised shirt and tie combination who tells you whether it is going to rain tomorrow and does so by sticking glorified fridge magnets in the shape of little raindrops onto a grey map of Britain. (And incidentally, that map of Britain is upright, not slanted away from the viewer so that is almost impossible to tell whether the big blob of sleet is supposed to be on Edinburgh or Inverness).

Phew. I feel better after that. (I also feel about 90, but that is becoming more and more common these days!)


  1. That was a glorious little rant! And entirely justified - it maddens me too to have to listen to what the weather was all through the day, then to miss what forecasty bit there might be because I've drifted off with boredom. And they're always wrong about our bit of the North East - the weather can be totally different nine miles away at the coast. AND weather people have the weirdest way of verbally punctuating their speech....I could go on and on, because I feel about 90 too.

  2. Yes, totally agree. And one can tell the weather prospects (as well as the current weather) for one's own little area just by looking out of the window too. The older I get (and I'm a lot nearer to 90 than you are) the more I realise that most "experts" are just taking flying guess at whatever it is they're pontificating about and have little more clue about, for example, the economy/the future of transport/the prospects for a paperless office than I have.

  3. It's interesting to hear that you are having the smae switch-a-roony that we are!

  4. Yes. Yes. And also I don't want to hear what random idiots think about the news and have texted in.

  5. on top of that, when the weathermen finally do get around to "predicting," they're wrong most of the time. They're the only people that can be wrong more than half the time and still keep their jobs.
    The news is one of my favorite rants!

  6. Hear, hear!! It's the same all over. (And I love that you used the 1970's dork-word "spiffy" in a blog post.)

  7. Damn, you're good. And so right. I am tired to the screaming point of clouds whipping across Canada with a svelte young idiot blocking my view of eastern Ontario.
    And the CBC news coverage is pathetic. Don't get me started on the US of A.