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A-Maze-Ing! (but not in a good way)

moral mazeAs a fan of both American and British talk radio, I happily tuned into the BBC’s well-named Moral Maze program last week to hear Dr. Ashdown-Hill talk about the reinterment of King Richard the Third.

For those of us who love the high-pitched tenor of American talk radio – which is often akin to being trapped in a cage of enraged parrots – this show didn’t disappoint.  For forty-five minutes I endured a good old King Richard the Third-bashing with lashings of masochistic Brit-bashing thrown in for good measure.  What could be more fun?

Led by the plummy-voiced presenter, Michael Buerk, who began his laid-back introduction by calling Richard a “twisted tyrant,” a “child murderer” and a “most unworthy king,” it quickly devolved further into an attack on the poor folk who dared to line the streets of Leicester to get a glimpse of the cortege of the last English king to die in battle.  They were called “incomprehensible,” “baffling” and panelist Melanie Phillips brayed that they were “unhealthy” people  – as if they somehow got an erotic frisson by participating in this unprecedented event.  Apparently, down to the tiniest tot holding a white rose, no one was given credit for having a legitimate interest in this great panorama of British history and culture playing out before their eyes.  Nope!  They were only there to drool over the burial of the original Bad Boy of Britain.

So imagine my relief to hear the soft, patient voice of Dr. John Ashdown-Hill who called into the program from Leicester and proceeded to deny that King Richard was anything like Jeremy Clarkson or Adolf Hitler.  He refused to accept the word “usurper” when describing Richard’s ascent to the throne and brought up the distinctly uncomfortable fact that The Duke of Gloucester was petitioned by the Three Estates to take the crown.  The panelists (which seemed to include historian Paul Lay and “revolutionary communist” Claire Fox – none of whom were properly introduced) lapsed into confused silence on that point which is surprising given that even Mr. Shakespeare acknowledged that fact.  Mr. Buerk quickly urged the panelists to “move on” which, of course, meant another full-throttled attack on the medieval Dr. Crippen once Ashdown-Hill disconnected.  So, in the end it was a completely unilluminating forty-five minutes out of my life.

It was enough to make my eyes roll toward heaven!


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4 thoughts on “A-Maze-Ing! (but not in a good way)

  1. viscountessw on said:

    So, we have Starkey the Snarky, Buerk the Berk, Hicks the Pr… No! Pardonnez moi. I won’t go that far, for this is a polite blog. But thank you, mairemartello, for delivering Auntie another well-deserved poke on the snout. Excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not surprised by this. Starkey used to be a panellist, and I don’t think the producer has changed, so the direction was only to be expected. It’s one of the few Radio 4 programmes where my hand moves itself to the off switch.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. DAVID SPURGEON on said:

    This cretin whom I once admired should really get his facts straight. Richard III was probably the finest king England ever had! Even the Queen accepts it was the Tudors who maligned him, not least through Shakespeare’s play.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. DAVID SPURGEON on said:

    He simply had no motive to kill the Princes. Tell him to Read ‘Richard III’ by Paul Murray Kendall.


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