This Sunday marks the debut of Robert Peston’s new ITV politics show. Peston on Sunday is set out to rival the BBC’s politics shows — such as the Andrew Marr Show, Daily Politics and Newsnight — as the channel try to win back ground with its politics coverage. However, before Peston’s former BBC colleagues break a sweat over their new rival’s efforts, they can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former BBC economics editor harbours no plans to mimic their greatest stars. In fact, if anything Peston plans to do his best to be nothing like them.
In an interview with the Radio Times, the ITV political editor has launched a thinly-veiled attack on presenters who grill their interviewees on air. Peston claims that in order to get politicians to give honest answers, they need to be treated in a courteous manner rather than a ‘vicious’ one:
‘When public figures don’t play it safe… then they get this incredible bucket of shit poured on them. I think if we want people to say what they think, we’ve got to disagree with them in a less vicious and vindictive way. There’s nothing wrong with being courteous.’
Peston plans to do this on his Sunday show by creating a safe space for politicians where they can ‘get away from the horrible world where politicians feel they have to pre-prepare everything’:
‘I am trying to create a space in which people who got out of the habit of speaking the truth and speaking confidently, can do both. We want to try to get away from the horrible world where politicians feel they have to pre-prepare everything and that it’s too dangerous to actually say what they really think.’
Happily, Peston says he draws a the line at ‘badmouthing’ rivals and thinks they are ‘all great’. Funny that, as far as Mr S can tell he just badmouthed almost every political interviewer on television.