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Live from Downing Street

Written by: Nick Robinson
Narrated by: Simon Shepherd
Length: 15 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: History, Europe

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Publisher's Summary

The relationship between those who wield power and those whose job it is to tell us what they are doing has always been fraught with tension. Politicians now expect to be on camera and facing aggressive questions from the moment they open their front door to the moment they return home at night. Everything they say and do is instantly broadcast and dissected on 24-hour news channels, blogs, and Twitter. It was not always this way.

Live from Downing Street takes us on an absorbing journey through the hard-fought battles for the right to tell the public about the decisions taken on their behalf. Parliament once imprisoned those who dared to report what MPs had said. Broadcasters used to be banned by law from debating anything newsworthy and even from covering elections. Since that censorship ended, the two sides have clashed repeatedly. We follow the fluctuations of the power struggle from Walpole to modern times, dwelling in fascinating detail on those who fought back - Churchill, Wilson, Thatcher, and Blair.

At the same time we learn of the emergence of the equally charismatic key players from radio and television: the Dimblebys, Day, Frost, Walden, Paxman, and Humphrys. Nick Robinson provides a colourful and personal examination of what life is like as the BBC’s Political Editor – a role described in a report for the White House as "the most important job in British political journalism".

Peppered with informative but witty anecdotes, his account reveals his own considered view of the controversial issue of impartial reporting. Live from Downing Street is a gripping story written by someone uniquely placed to add his own perceptive insights and observations.

©2012 Nick Robinson (P)2012 Random House AudioGo 2012

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  • ManInTheHighFlat
  • 10-06-13

Excellent - very accessible and easy listening

Was pleasantly surprised that it included a sort of mini-history of the BBC and news journalism, which makes this book much more interesting than simply a potted-history of 10 Downing Street's reporting.

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  • MRS
  • 06-12-12

Early days and peculiar ways of BBC

What made the experience of listening to Live from Downing Street the most enjoyable?

The incredible stuffiness and inability to realise the value of, first radio, then television. The fact that it took the Queen to put down a firm fott with regard to the planning of her coronation

What was one of the most memorable moments of Live from Downing Street?

the interesting conversations and quick, witty exchanges

Which scene was your favorite?

President Bush 43 telling Nick to cover his Bald spot'
Nick, mistakenly thinking he was out of earshot muttered, I didn't know you cared
Bush . I don't

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Do stop asking this daft question. It took nearly a week of careful listening. Then I started it all over again and found stuff I had missed the first time

Any additional comments?

Fascinating. I even twittered him admiringly