Car crash TV – and how to avoid it

Face the media undercooked and you'll get grilled and the scars won't heal. Andy has some sage advice.

The nights are drawing in. The kids are trudging back to school. It can only mean one thing.

Yep. It’s foot in mouth season.

Politicians of all colours will soon be given something – which many of us would like to see them denied – the oxygen of publicity, as the party conferences roll into town.

Labour are in Brighton at the end of this month, followed by the Tories here in Manchester from October 1st-4th.

We could open a book.

Who will be the first to do a May, a Corbyn, or worse still, a Diane Abbott?

Everyone with a shred of decency will deplore the vile stuff that the trolls have spewed out about her and other, mainly female, politicians online and on social media.That can’t detract from the fact that she was quite simply a liability during the last election campaign and played into the hands of Labour’s opponents every time she opened her mouth.


Who can forget this car crash interview on LBC? Please, let’s not forget the armies of spin doctors and PR types that politicians employ to try and create that Teflon coating which means the rest of us  end up bellowing at our radio and TV sets:

“Why don’t you just answer the ****ing question??!”

But it gets better. Now the man who formed the company that PR-ed Margaret Thatcher into power has found himself on the receiving end.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Roger Askew/REX (3727644e)

Not only have Bell Pottinger been kicked out of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) for it’s “unethical and unprofessional” conduct after an investigation uncovered a secret campaign to stir up racial tension in South Africa – all for a booty of £100k a month – but the company’s founder Lord Tim Bell floundered his way through a BBC Newsnight interview punctuated with his phone going off several times.
Car crash

PR firms take note. Here’s the latest in a sorry series.

How not to respond to a crisis in one six minute interview

You may wish to look away, it’s embarrassing stuff.

There is no excuse for it. If it wasn’t so serious it would be hilarious.

So please. I IMPLORE all of you, don’t let your spokespeople out in front of the media if they are undercooked

You will never repair the damage.And people like me, who media train clients for a living will be using your self-inflicted wounds as part of our “How not to…” presentations.

As always though, there’s a silver lining.

I work with clients including the National Farmers’ Union and the Alliance Manchester Business School, to make sure they are properly prepared and ready to face the media.


We will go through the theory of what the media wants, how journalists work and how to deal with difficult questions.You are put through your paces with print radio and TV interviews. There’s no chance of you doing a Diane or, as it’s now known, a Lord Tim.

Feedback from the NFU was great, they told me I got “six out of six – with six being excellent.”

So don’t risk it. It just isn’t worth it. Give me a call.