The World Today – Poetry goes Primetime

There is nothing cooler than being chauffeur-driven across London, east to west, to Television Centre by a requisitioned BBC car. The sense of temporary authority – an invitation from the Establishment – is palpable. As we rose onto the Westway, the outside world was something else, below me – minions, peasants, plebs. They have nothing to say. I am on the magic telly box.

OK, so it wasn’t exactly like that. But I had fun. I was invited – all very last-minute – to appear on The World Today presented by the amazing Zenaib Badawi. Of course, I wasn’t shocked to hear that The World Today not only goes out live on BBC4, but also on BBC World to over 200 countries. No, not at all. I took it in my stride. Obviously.

I was representing/reprezenting poetry along with beat stalwart Michael Horovitz (don’t mention the kazoo); the discussion, whilst brief, was lively and interesting. It didn’t just focus on the Oxford Poetry Professorship scandal (thank god), but ranged more widely into, for instance, the affect of the internet on poetry. I’ve gotta say, Zenaib is a real pro – even managing to handle the kazoo* surprise with style and good humour. Here are a few screengrabs from my fifteen minutes of fame.




* Sorry, I should give Michael’s instrument its proper name – The Anglo-Saxophone.


  1. adamhorovitz says:

    Brief? Tom, it took up half the show! It was an excellent interview, I thought. Zenaib Badawi managed it all very well; why, she even carefully extruded a polite comment about my father’s Anglo Saxophone outburst !

  2. Rob says:

    I confess, Tom – when I was a youngster I had a real crush on Zenaib Badawi. I suspect I wasn’t the only one. I know this is a couple of decades on, but I am still jealous.

  3. Tom says:

    Don’t worry Rob, I think we’ve all been there.

  4. Michelle says:

    Cor, Tom! Fame!

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