For a writer, nuance is indispensable, it's fun and challenging. So I was interested to hear a BBC radio 4 programme: 'The Death of Nuance.' The first episode was entitled ‘ Losing my Nuance.’ Later that morning I wrote to the editor of the Radio Times Letters Page, as follows
Losing My Nuance, 15th January radio 4
I quickly lost my nuance. Ironically, the programme helped. I found it thought-provoking but not as producer and contributors intended. I was distracted by ghost-music, fading-in, louder, imperceptible. then revenant. The discussion was lost, not only nuance but substance. Elusive music held me, why was it there, what was it trying to say? Then I gave up and switched off.
Words or music? What is the core-listening experience of a programme? Whilst I have high regard for Jess Gillam as a musician I no longer listen to ‘This Classical Life’ radio 3 because she and her guests chat whilst her choice of music is playing. Even the revered David Attenborough fronted a programme where bird song (the subject) was overlaid with commentary and music.
Please, BBC producers, when you have excellent presenters and content let us listen, let us hear the nuance.
For discussion programmes and documentaries, my focus is on words and ideas. I do not understand the vogue for adding music in a random way throughout a programme. I can’t see why it’s there. Sometimes it’s used like punctuation, to note a shift of topic, sometimes it simply pops up, grows louder, fades out. Will it return, yes it will. Why? Does the producer think the discussion lacks power to engage the listener?
The Green Planet: Tropical Worlds - the life of plants. David Attenborough's programmes are always visually stunning. If the life of plants sounds a less dynamic subject, think again. With The Triffid, a camera of awesome potential, we see plants in a wholly new way.