Belfast Telegraph

Murray 'fed up' over modern satire

Al Murray has lamented the quality of today's satire and criticised broadcasters for shortening their viewers' attention spans.

The funnyman, famous for his Pub Landlord alter-ego, made the remarks while promoting his BBC Radio 5 Live show, which takes "a sideways look at the week's news".

Murray, 45, said that he was "fed up with the idea that satire is a natural expression of left-wing views".

He told the Radio Times that his radio show, 7 Day Saturday, was nothing like Have I Got News For You on BBC One or Channel 4 programme Ten O'Clock Live, adding: "We're never going to get clubby with MPs, for one thing. Getting them into the studio completely draws the sting."

The comedian said: "I don't know why we struggle to produce decent satire. We're not in short supply when it comes to clever, snarky people.

"We're told the satire boom in the 1960s was this enormous cultural event - usually by people who were involved in it - and maybe that's the problem. We keep trying to do new versions of That Was the Week That Was. Maybe it's time to stop venerating the 1960s."

He said of broadcasting on the radio: "You can talk about one thing for 15 minutes and the audience love it. On TV, they're so worried about short attention spans that everything gets 20 seconds. I'd suggest that's what creates short attention spans."

Murray said that he owed his biggest debt for Pub Landlord material to radio.

He told the magazine: "When Jon Gaunt hosted a phone-in on BBC London, he was effectively writing material for me. I remember one phone-in where someone said, 'This is a tolerant, welcoming country - it just so happens we're full up.' That's pure Pub Landlord, sounding both reasonable and ridiculous at the same time."

The funnyman, who is working on a book about how the Second World War still shapes Britain, said: "It seems to be the last good thing that we did - fight that war - and it's something we struggle to move on from. It was so long ago, but we make it part of our world-view today."

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