The Nolan TV Show

Awful moment last night when I walked into the living room and discovered Stephen Nolan had been given a TV Show.

I had a Father Jack Hackett moment ….”How did that gobshite get on the television?”

I would like to see Nolan on that show with Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell. They travel the world re-uniting long lost family members. Stephen Nolan has “family” out there in USA and England……Rush Limbaugh, Shaun Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Jon Gaunt, James Whale. Shock Jocks with the same broadcasting DNA.

Just how Nolan managed to get a radio show ……ninety minutes long……five mornings a week is a mystery. I have never listened to it. It seems to be the chosen show of taxi-drivers but I refuse to get into a taxi with Radio Ulster and Stephen Nolan. Simples.

I can understand the taxi driver demographic but I was horrified to discover that a senior politician never misses it. And just how Nolan came to set the “political agenda” is perhaps a bigger mystery.

Nolan’s technique is the well-trodden shock jock path. Look for controversy. Pose as “man of the people” and referee a heated discussion between members of the public……seemingly chosen for their idiocy. Sprinkle the show with some anti-politics tirades and a willing politician to be confronted.

Last night Nolan made an unwelcome appearance on our screens. The item on “Punishment Beatings” was typically Nolan. A good issue for him….and his brand of “journalism”.In the Nolan world……there are thugs out who do not respond to police, courts, probation and prison. In the dark old days of the 1970s and 1980s..there was kangaroo justice operated by the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries. The IRA turned to Politics and the loyalists turned to Crime. In the unsophisticated world of the Nolan listener….the answer is vigilante justice. The show would have been made complete by a phone call from a “Mr Zimmermann in Florida” who allegedly has the same attitude to vigilante justice as a Nolan viewer.

Another issue dealt with by Nolan was “regional pay”…..an idea from the Conservative-led government in London…. to make the pay of civil servants in unemployment black spots (such as Norn Iron) based on local needs…..obviously this is an unpopular move with people here. The Nolan Show needs a pantomime villain and this was provided by A Posh Girl who was on The Apprentice Show.

In an effort to show his credentials as a serious investigative reporter (!), Stephen Nolan took to the road to Portrush and Portstewart where a local developer was apparently playing fast and loose with planning laws. Nolan confronted him in the street, probably hoping for a great television moment where our intrepid reporter was dealt some verbal or worse abuse. Nothing happened. The confronted builder drove off in silence.

Nolan decided he needed a new villain in the shape of studio guest, Alex Attwood, Minister for the Environment, whose powers are extremely limited. Of course Alex is a fellow member of the SDLP but I think I would be equally annoyed at the way he was treated…..if the Minister had been DUP, Sinn Féin or UUP. Actually I am absolutely certain I would have been equally annoyed because I detest Stephen Nolan much more than any political party…..except of course members of the Alliance Party.

Stephen Nolan does not do reasonable debate. He rarely let Attwood speak. Without a hint of irony, Nolan shook Attwood’s hand at the end of the er interview and thanked him for actually going on his programme.

I hope strong words were exchanged off-air. And I suspect that there will be a de-briefing of sorts at the Department of the Environment Press Office. And quite possibly in the SDLP Press Office.

And possibly in other Press Offices. Really all political parties should take a stand against Nolan and his hectoring and bullying stance. He is probably now the most influential man in BBC Headquarters in Ormeau Avenue. BBC are paying him a fortune. But just how the programme went down with his BBC bosses is interesting. They will publicly fend off criticism of their big star. But I suspect privately that they will point out to their bully boy that his show went beyond acceptable limits.

Just who is saying what at Ormeau Avenue is something I cannot know. Veteran journalist Noel Thompson of the reflective “Hearts and Minds” has been shafted. Stephen Nolan is in the ascendancy.

It is a question for BBC journalists. When Kate Adie, the veteran BBC “war” reporter from BBC in London did her first assignments in Belfast, she could not understand what the Troubles were all about…….until she noticed so few Catholics in the Ormeau Avenue nesroom. In the 1960s and 1970s the BBC was joined at the hip to the unionist regime, and barely tolerated nationalists. In the 1980s and 1990s it went into faux “lets get alongerist” mode. But now post-1998 the boys and girls at the Beeb are not at ease with the new Politics. Thru Nolan……they seem to have made a conscious decision…..to ridicule politics and politicians.

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7 Responses to The Nolan TV Show

  1. James says:

    I knew he was always a festival plump chap but did you notice the weight he put on

    • Well he seemed to make a joke of it himself….probably to draw the sting from people mentioning it. But I was struck by how much he had become a parody of himself. Do you recall sketches on “Fat Steve” on “Dry Your Eyes”.
      Life imitates Art. :)

  2. alistedpassion says:

    I was in a friend’s house when Nolan’s interview with Alex Attwood was on. I was glad that Nolan pressed the Minister for the Environment for answers relating to the two historical buildings demolished and replaced with a hotel in Portstewart. With all the pressing by Nolan, I now understand why all over Northern Ireland, buildings of historical interest are being demolished for no good reason except to fulfil the dreams of those with bank pockets. I am absolutely horrified to understand that the NI Minister for the Environment seemingly has no power beyond a Repair/Maintenance Order (according to present NI legislation). Clearly there is an urgent need to change the legislation to bring it into line with England, where the Minister for the Environment there has teeth, and really can be on the side of the public. It was mentioned by Mr Attwood that there have been two Orders for Repair / Maintenance issued by his Department in the last 30 years. This is a disgraceful record, and little wonder we have so many already demolished (delisted) or derelict (listed) buildings in NI. Furthermore, it is nothing short of criminal, that even when an Order has been issued, the Minister has no further power beyond that Order. I find this totally outrageous & wonder exactly why the Northern Ireland Minister for the Environment has so little power in this field, when he is supposed to ensure protection of listed buildings. What is the point of an Order to repair / maintain when it goes no further if the owner decides not to follow it? Now we know why a certain Lord has got away with it so many times – eg., the Shirt Factory at Coleraine & more recently, Cairndhu outside Larne. Actually (& please correct me if I’m wrong), the two Orders Mr Attwood referred to may well be the two that I myself requested to be issued in respect of Cairndhu. One was in respect of requiring the then owner to install steel doors over the front entrance, and brick up all windows to keep people out. Unfortunately, the then owner carried out only part of that order and left the rear windows at the back without being bricked up. Of course nobody from the Department checked up as to whether the work had been completed – of if they did, why then had I to further request the Department to contact the owner to get the back windows bricked up as well? Once again, some of the back windows were bricked up, but several were not, and two in particular were only boarded, to be ripped off later and these two windows are still wide open and give full access to all parts of the house. I had more recently requested the Department to issue an Order to Repair / Maintain against the current owner ( a Company operating another Company of which the same certain Lord appears to have an interest ) – to have the roofs, gutterings & sky-lights sealed against the weather (after lead and ridge tiles were removed by vandals). However, the Department’s response was they would not consider issuing such an Order as it felt it was better to have consultation rather than confrontation. I would have thought that after years of so-called consultation with several owners, there would be clear understanding what is required of any owner of a listed building. Each owner was obviously aware of their responsibility when purchasing the property, they were aware that the building was listed – so why for instance does the current owner still own Cairndhu? Why has the Department continually pussy-footed around (practically afraid, it seems, to upset the owner) and allowed Cairndhu to fall into such ruin? As far as I am aware, the NI Department for the Environment has the power to take the entire property off the owner if it / he fails to repair / maintain it, providing there is a local group / Trust interested in taking over the ownership. If this happened, such a group / Trust could then apply for grants enabling repair / maintenance. One thing I give credit to Mr Attwood for, was the fact that one of his first duties on becoming Minister responsible for Listed Buildings, was to raise the amount of grant funding available to owners for carrying out repairs – but why then isn’t the current owner applying for this? Once again I suppose there is no power to make the owner apply, so the only option left – take the property off the owner as they are not fit to own this listed building – completely self-evident. It is an absolute disgrace the entire situation as it currently stands – new legislation is needed.

    • There is however an Overclass who are detached from Politics as much as the Underclass is.
      Stephen Nolan represents that kind of “Overclass” and he makes a living…a good one….from being cynical about Politics and encouraging others to be the same.
      Some people PRETEND to be in Politics but make sure that they are totally detached by joining “parties” that are a waste of space. The Norn Iron Labour Party, Norn Iron Conservatives and the Greens. It gives them the luxury of pretending to be involved while making extremely sure they never have to make a decision.

      • alistedpassion says:

        Personally, politics is rather boring, but I’m sure it would be even more so if there was no Norn Iron labour, conservatives or green parties, as we would be left with only the unionists and sinn feinn – having said that, it’s more or less a two-party system anyway no matter what I or anyone else votes (or indeed no matter how many parties there are). I’m not concerned why Nolan is where he is or what he does, the plain fact is, he managed to get an answer to a mystery question that I’ve been trying to get answered for years – ie why are more historical buildings restored and protected in England than in Northern Ireland? Now, because of the answer Attwood gave to Nolan’s question (on behalf of other people), I now know it’s because our legislation here is not sufficient for the purpose it was intended, and needs changed so that the NI Minister for the Environment has teeth with respect to listed buildings here. It’s a complete sham at the moment.

      • Pity that you think Politics is about unionists and Sinn Féin. It seems to indicate that you are too posh for our local politics or maybe youre just not politically literate.
        Either way Alex Attwood…..who is neither a unionist or in Sinn Féin …..or in Norn Iron Labour, Conservatives or Greens…..is actually in SDLP..maybe you might consider voting to change legislation next time round.

      • alistedpassion says:

        You have not read what I wrote – either that or it hasn’t sunk in. For a start, I have always voted, but unfortunately there will be no change at Stormont due to the so-called Good Friday Agreement – a two-party system – no democracy! Incidently, I do know there are other parties involved, but I hadn’t mentioned them (SDLP, etc…) since you didn’t. Get a grip! You’re reading other things into what other people say, obviously for your own gratification. I have made my initial statement and I stand by it. I did not come on here to be arguing silly points. Anyone with half a brain can read between the lines (whether a pauper, “posh” or whatever). Thanks.

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