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How This Morning ‘ambushed’ David Cameron

David Cameron on This Morning

It’s all over the online news – and will be all over the headlines tomorrow – Phillip Schofield handed prime minster David Cameron a list of suspected Tory paedophiles during a live interview on ITV’s daytime show “This Morning”.

With the Jimmy Savile investigation in full swing, the show was following up rumours that senior members of the Conservative party were suspected of links to paedophilia. The research was apparently based on a trawl of the internet, and unfortunately it seems that a camera may have caught some of the names on the list Phillip tried to hand over.

David Cameron as you can imagine wasn’t best pleased and criticised Phillip’s actions, suggesting that it could lead into “a sort of witch hunt, particularly against people who are gay”.

I’ve heard all sorts of names being bandied around and what then tends to happen is, of course, everyone sits around and speculates about people. Some of whom are alive, some of whom are dead,” said Cameron.

“I do think it’s very important that anyone who’s got any information about any paedophile no matter how high up in the country or whether they are alive or dead, go to the police.

“There is a danger, if we’re not careful, that this can turn into a sort of witch hunt, particularly against people who are gay.”

Question is though (cos this is a site about TV production!) – was that an appropriate piece of television production? There will undoubtedly be an investigation by Ofcom because if the names were visible there are serious legal implications.

It certainly got a response and will garner headlines everywhere for the show. So was it a great way to livening up a political interview on live television?

We assume there was no intention of revealing the names, the camera angle was a mistake, but it was still a risky strategy. Cameron being surprised by the piece of paper could have blurted out the names without thinking. (As it happens he refused to take or read the note).

So what do you think?

Was the show right to use that tactic or not?

Leave your thoughts below and answer our little poll on the front page: http://wanttoworkintelevision.com/

9 comments

  • Roy Slaven says:

    Definitely not – the internet is the home for a million rumours, unsubstantiated allegations & conspiracy theories. In the absence of evidence and proof, ‘Schofield’s List’ falls into these categories. This was shoddy ‘journalism’ and very misguided.
    Can things get any more Brass Eye ?

  • Stu says:

    Phil should have made it a prize on ‘The Cube.’ David Cameron should have competed with it, with money going towards some government investment/paying off public debts.
    Much higher production values, larger audience; everyone wins (except the paedophiles, but they’ve lost such a chance. Because they’re paedophiles.)

  • Justin Macartney says:

    PS predecessor was the focus of a witch hunt and he had done nothing wrong and look what happened to him. The trouble is that with big hd and high hertz tvs you will be able to read the names. If my name was on the list I would now be after PS personally and everyone involved – whether I was one or not!

    • Barney Newman says:

      Wrong tactic. I think producers and Phillip were wrong to do that on air and it was essentially a misguided stunt. Doing the research and mentioning it is fair enough, maybe even having an envelope with the names inside to hand to DC after the interview would have been an idea. They just ended up looking silly and a little amateur. Cameron is very used to live confrontation and giving him a list of names was never going to do anything but fall flat. It was skimming the surface of the production team or the prime minister himself being held libellous, which is tempting fate and very risky. DC went on to round up the debate well and Phillip was forced to move on to ‘what he did come on to talk about’ which is basically waving a white flag, trying to get the the prime minister back on side after an epic fail.

      It’s one of those ideas that seems great at the time but usually doesn’t make it out of the morning meeting.

  • Grant Crockett says:

    Absolutely the wrong decision to ambush David Cameron with a “list”. True, it isn’t difficult to come up with several names after rooting around the internet’s darker corners. But what Philip Schofield didn’t find was any evidence or allegations.

    Very shoddy journalism. What was the chain of command that allowed this to happen? Surely this must have had to go through several producers to get cleared. How on earth did they think this was acceptable!?

    This did nothing to enliven debate and has garnered only negative press for the show and for PS. Moronic and avoidable.

  • Jack says:

    Really disappointed at Phillip Schofield. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him as a broadcaster but today really surprised me. I don’t know whether or not it was the production team or Schofield himself that decided on doing ‘the stunt’ but he has broken at least 2 sections of the OFCOM Broadcasting Code.

    Editor and Exec Producers at This Morning have to be held accountable for what happened no matter what does eventually happen.

  • Kate Lines says:

    I agree that what Phillip did was misguided although i believe that he did have no intentention of revealing the names on Camera.
    I think we need to know wether this was agreed with the producers.
    |f he wanted to give such names to Mr Cameron, then maybe he should have done it off camera/air.

  • Dennis Boyett says:

    This Morning – last Thurday.
    Phillip Schofiled is, and has been, an excellent presenter in a variety of TV formats. He is not however a journalist. Dimbleby was right in his criticism. PS should stick to what he excels at – the lighter side of TV presentation.
    All that happens when he enters the world of serious journalism is that his inexperience is clearly revealed for all to see.
    Even his natural charm becomes superceded by his inherent, but usually kept under wraps arrogance.

  • Phillip Schofield, David Cameron and THAT List | So You Want to Work in TV says:

    […] Newman, a fabulous producer I have worked with, left a comment on yesterday’s post suggesting they could have at least placed the list in a sealed envelope – losing nothing from […]

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