For those who don’t know, ‘Thought for the day’ is a trite little 3 or 4 minute segue in the Today Programme, the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs package, which shapes the daily agenda in political journalism and commentary on domestic and international affairs.
‘Thought for the day’ basically consists of someone from the church telling everyone how much better their pointless little lives would be if only they’d filter their every waking moment through rose tinted Jesus glasses.
The one defining feature of ‘Thought for the day’ that sets it aside from the rest of the Today Programme, is unless you already believe in such supernatural gobbledegook, it virtually guarantees you’ll be diving for the controls as soon as it begins, to tune to another station just long enough for it’s self-satisfied guest presenter to say what they have to say, before tuning back the dial five minutes later, once it’s over and the real news can kick back in.
I understand the concept of setting a moment in the busy 24 hour news agenda driven world aside for quiet contemplation and that, as a public service broadcaster, the BBC has a duty to provide a space for people of all beliefs to call their own. But doing so in the same air-time occupied by News and Factual makes a complete mockery of that. It’s Pythonesque in it’s sarcasm, albeit unintentionally so.
iPM, the BBC’s weekly listener driven magazine show, this week gave a voice, for the first time in the corporation’s history, to secular humanism in the ‘Thought for the day’ slot.
Here’s what Ariane Sherine had to say…