Concern is growing among British – ah – listeners and – ah – TV viewers about a deadly virus that’s affecting numerous – ah – broadcasters and – ah – presenters. It’s even spreading to – ah – weather girls and – ah – traffic reporters!
The horrifying result of catching this – ah – virus is to be unable to complete a single sentence without numerous – ah – irritating hesitations and a large smattering of ‘ahs’, even when reading the main news in front of millions of people.
According to the experts this is just another blow-in from America where it’s common for public figures, even the President himself, to sound as if they’re speaking off the cuff, and therefore portrayed a more honest, cooler image.
Of course, once the trendy ultra-young producers at the BBC picked up on this they were bound to emulate it simply because they’re so anxious to appear to be at the cutting edge of what’s happening out there in their parallel universe. And Tony Blair used it to devastating effect during his time in office, although he used hesitations rather than the jarring ‘ahs’.
One psychiatrist suggests the reason it has spread so fast through the British public medium is because humans subconsciously mimic the person they’re communicating with, especially if they’re in thrall of that person. So if the TV/Radio interviewer constantly – ah – punctuates his speech with – ah – this kind of rubbish, then the interviewee will naturally follow. Just listen to Richard – ah – Madley, who seems to have been affected more than anyone else, as he spars with the girl who reads the newspapers on his Sunday show. She – ah – matches him – ah – hesitation for – ah – hesitation, sometimes even out ahing him!
The most irritating example of this is when an experienced newsreader turns to the weather person and says: ‘Now over to – ah – George with the -ah – weather. What have you – ah – got for us today – ah – George?’
Unfortunately more and more people are becoming distracted by this and are hankering after the good old days when producers demanded professional standards from their reporters and wouldn’t have tolerated such sloppy, lazy performances. Someone even suggested that every item should be run past professional broadcasters like Chris Evans or Debi Edwards. It’s a treat to hear them, along with Ken Bruce and Johnny Walker, who don’t need such cheap gimmicks to show that they’re on top of their game.
Perhaps the amazing Debi Edwards (ITV News) could set up a training session on how to do it properly. She did a four minute LIVE report on the terrible dustcart tragedy and there wasn’t ONE ‘am’ or ‘ur’ or any other kind of unprofessional stumbling.