Anorak News | Anchors Away

Anchors Away

by | 16th, November 2005

‘ANYONE who has watched the BBC’s weekend morning news show has asked: how did Kate Silverton get the job?

Saddam Hussein’s cell has been painted in duck-egg blue

Silverton, all lip gloss and eye-catching bad fashion, is too routinely awful to escape the suspicion that it was not her journalistic expertise alone that got her to where she is today.

As one UK critic said, she looks ‘not only as if she had come fresh from a beauty salon but as if she usually worked in one’.

Since being able to read English out loud and sit still is pretty much the only prerequisite for the job of news presenter, Silverton should be able to cope as well as any five-year-old reading her story out in class.

But she too often struggles. There are too many errors. And when Silverton does get it right, she has that annoying habit of turning to her co-presenter as if to say, “Come on, it’s not that hard. Have a go. Try.”

And the sidekick doesn’t always appreciate Silverton. Philip Hayton could take no more. ‘It boils down to incompatibility,’ said Hayton in September this year. He was unable to work with Silverton on the BBC’s News 24 service any longer. ‘We did four hours of live TV every day, and you have to like each other,’ he said.

At the time, Silverton’s agent said Hayton’s departure had come as a complete surprise. ‘I think this says more about Philip than it does about Kate,’ said Alex Armitage.

That it did. It said that as a journalist of many years standing Hayton could no longer stand to share the desk with someone of Silverton’s calibre – the kind of person for whom journalism’s front line runs directly through her seat at Television Centre.

And Jon Snow, the Channel 4 news presenter, has noticed the problem. In days of yore, the presenting desk was a kind of refuge for hacks who could not longer get about in the field. A wooden Zimmer frame with draws.

Now, there is Silverton. And not only her, but Natasha Kaplinksy, the star of Strictly Come Dancing, too. Thunderbirds puppet look-alike Darren Jordan, who went from Sandhurst to sports presenting to the news anchor. And Mary Nightingale, who made her name fronting the holiday show Wish You Were Here, where the world’s hot spots come as part of a package tour.

Michel Buerk, Jeremy Bowen and Sandy Gall had all donned flak jackets long before they’d pulled on a blazer to anchor the show.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society, Snow said: “We are seeing the rise of a generation of anchors who have never been in the field. They’ve never been told to drop everything and get on a story, get out of the office and to the airport.”

Snow feels it’s important that the person who brings you the news “understands what they’re talking about”.

A look at Silverton’s CV shows a career light on big news. She’s presented the BBC daytime shows Big Strong Boys and Housecall, and ITV’s We Can Work It Out.

So long as the news features items on home decoration, with features on how Iraqis have taken to stencilling in a big way and plan to rebuild the country in the image of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s lounge, Silverton should be fine.

Which gives us an idea – why not get the news to suit the presenters. It’s all very well for Snow to talk about politics, he likes that kind of thing. So why not give Silverton news she can really get her white teeth into.

Like what’s going on in Strictly Come Dancing. Look out for that this Sunday…’

Posted: 16th, November 2005 | In: Celebrities Comment | TrackBack | Permalink