PIZZA AND CHEESE
NEWS CLICHÉS YOU HATE
"Yes that shot was 'always' going over the bar/wide of the post." This phrase in football commentary really gets me. Of course it's "always" going over or wide because that's where it's going. I haven't seen a shot that's going wide then suddenly change direction in mid-air for no reason and go into the back of the net.
Ashley Patton, Derry, Northern Ireland
We always here now from politicians the phrase "Let's be absolutely clear about this", used as a punctuation in the interview which always comes across as "Okay, interviewer, you've backed me into a corner, I just have to take a breath while I remember the official line from my department which will seem even more inexplicable to the public but hopefully convince you, the interviewer, to start winding things up because, let's be clear about this, I'm going into neutral and I want my teddy."
James de la Rue, Nottingham
Every night I watch reports, followed by the studio newsreader saying "we are joined from the scene by our such and such correspondent for the latest update". Then follows a series of questions to the correspondent, who just gave us a full report, where we get the EXACT same information we have just heard. BBC - your viewers are not as stupid and forgetful as you obviously think we are.
Neil Stephen, Isle of Skye
More often heard in sports news, usually used several times by the footballer, manager or TV pundit - "at the end of the day..." makes my teeth go on edge.
Kevin Sands, Oxford
"Now, let's have a look at the time. It's quarter past six."
Julian Corner, Whitby
The word "currently". You are either going to do something, are doing something, or have done it. If you are currently doing something, it's tautology!
Tom McKay, London
On Channel 4 news, the main presenter will introduce, and thus utterly trump the second presenter's story. For example, "Two million pounds was stolen today - with more on that, over to whoever". Quit hogging the stories man! You've already got the main slot. It's like someone taking over your joke's punchline.
Dave Lynch, London
"The family made this emotional appeal." The fact that it's emotional is usually pretty obvious.
Why was last week's snow a "weather event"?
"All this and more - after the break." Could they for once not try to build up a break! If people actually like the show then they will be watching it anyway.
Calum Wiggle, Keswick
"Lessons have been learnt" is one of the most aggravating phrases ever, which is repeated every time something which should never have happened does. Nearly all the time, the same thing proceeds to happen right after "lessons being learnt". So are they ever actually learnt? I don't think so.
Ruben Arakelyan, Ruislip
"Starved of the oxygen of publicity" does it for me. But then I suppose that clichés are indeed the nuts and bolts of the language.
This morning on Radio Four, I heard a warning of a "snow event".
Mr Kirk Elder, Peebles
"Shark infested waters" - why are the waters always "infested" with sharks? Also, there has been a "brutal murder" - do you know of any murders that are not brutal?
Hilary Bennett, Kingston upon Thames
"Don't go anywhere", just before a commercial break implies that the host of the television show I am watching has earned the right to tell me when I can and cannot leave my own living room. If I am planning to go out and miss the remainder of the programme then I shall. So there.
Jim Jones, London
"A touch of frost." Is there no other way to describe a light covering of tiny ice crystals on a cold surface? And why does every single footballer or manager from the winning side describe themselves as "delighted"? Painful.
Carlos A Fortin, Brighton
The most irritating expression has to be the one that late night ITV News bulletins would end with (I don't know whether they still do) - "That's it - more news later". Did viewers really need reassuring that there would be other newsworthy events in the future?
Kris Jones, London
The news phrase I hate is "This report from [our political correspondent etc]" or "This from..." It's so unnatural - I don't say to my wife "This statement from the bank" or "this shopping from Waitrose".
Maurice Waite, Appleton
"Top" - as used in inane television programmes to imply a guest is leader in their field: "top doctor", "top chef", "top expert", "top actor", etc.
Stuart Fotheringham, Ashford
My most hated TV News phrase has to be that, delivered by a presenter when wrapping up a two-way with a reporter, "Alright (name), thanks for that". Or, even worse, "Alright (name), for the moment - thanks for that." GGGRRRRRR!!
Michael Williams, London
My pet-hate TV phrase is "one of Islam's holiest shrines". When is the attack ever against "one of Islam's least holy shrines"?
Alison Broinowski, Sydney, Australia
It may be a grim task for a correspondent to fill the eerie silence left by the omission of the phrases "...grim task" and "...eerie silence, but banish them nonetheless.
Roo Johnstone, Phuket
The phrase "the news from where you are" raises a laugh in our house every night. For the next five minutes of hearing it we give updates of events in our lounge in the style of newsreaders. Sometimes it raises tears of laughter hearing such banal events spoken as if they were major news stories. You should give it a go. My son's "on the scene" live updates of visitors to the chip shop next door was particularly legendary.
Bob Dunning, Leeds
"Some atrocious weather on the way," repeated ad nauseum by bimbo weather presenters referring to that life blood of civilisation - rain.
Don Curtis, Brighton
The BBC comment I loathe most is when passing over to local news. To add insult to injury dear Huw says "Goodbye" at the end, which is ridiculous! Far better when Peter Sissons used to put it as "Now for news from across the United Kingdom" or words very much to that effect.
Sue W, Somerset
"And now the news wherever the hell you are" sounds pretty good to me, Mr Barron. I think you may be on to something. Frank Miles, Beckenham
Mrs Collette Dauphinais, Thunder Bay, Ont Canada
"Fair and balanced."
Dale Penprase, Midland, MI US
"The jury is still out."
Russell Miller, West Wickham
"Massive Heart Attack." Really?
Angharad Jones, Berkeley, California (originally Ynyswen, Wales)
"Of course, it's far too early to speculate..." This phrase tends to precede several minutes of speculation.
Gareth Graham, Bristol
Whenever the adverb "clearly" is used by a politician one can be certain that the opinion that follows will be dubious at best.
Steve Langford, Seattle, Washington USA
The TV cliche I hate is "pulled from the rubble" when someone's rescued in any disaster, from avalanches to destruction by bombs.
Hilda Meers, Whitehills
As an Englishman living in America, I have become accustomed to the American habit of making everything bigger or more complicated. Americans don't move, they "relocate". A simple tavern will be called "The Inn on The Park in the Square". There used to be a car company here called "Ford" - now its known everywhere as "Your Quality-plus Ford Dealer and You". "The news where you are" sounds a bit like that. What's wrong with, "Now the local News"?
Jonathan Clifton, Riverton, New Jersey, USA
Personally, I get very irritated by some weather-forecasters' phrases - as for instance when they talk about "more organised rain". The other day, I heard the rather odd-sounding "There's some sunny pie coming your way" - but can't say I disliked that. Quirky, though.
Michael Simpson, Ticehurst, East Sussex
How about: "Now here's your local news"? Too simple?
Beth T, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
Least favourite phrase in the news broadcasts: "[Insert name/organisation] is expected to announce [insert report/paper etc]." It's not news yet!
J Smith, Eastleigh, Hampshire
The word MASSIVE before either stroke or heart attack - pure Partridge.
Tom Brooks-Pollock, London
Just before the "now the news where you are" remark we are invariably exposed to the equally irritating "I'll be back a little later with the latest on the day's headlines". There are two points to make about this: 1) Are the news headlines really going to change within the next three or four minutes? 2) Why should those of us who have just sat through half an hour of news have to hear the same headlines repeated yet again? Solution: end of national news - cut to "local" news (in inverted commas because I live in Cumbria yet have to sit through endless stories about Manchester and Liverpool) - cut to weather - cut to trailers/next programme. If you missed the headlines, tough luck. Switch on Ceefax or use your red button!
Chris Johnston, Ulverston, Cumbria
Excellent column Peter. I have a suggestion, borrowed from the late, great local on-air guy, Tom Cherington. "Here is YOUR news." There - simple, non-exclusive.
Patrick Moore, Hamilton, Canada
Most irritating on North West tonight is Gordon Burns' opening statement: "Welcome to North West tonight, I'm Gordon Burns." Why does he have to tell us his name every time?
Una Talbot, Wigan
When did the word "ongoing" become such common currency that it crops up in just about every news report? What happened to "continuing"?
Alan Knowles, Glasgow
I get irritated when the news reader or interviewer says, at the end of whatever, "Thank you very much indeed". Why "very much indeed"? Why not just "thank you"? Isn't it just gilding the lily? Thank you very much indeed.
Barbara MacArthur, Cardiff
The news phrase I hate is the one used to fool us into thinking that a reporter has an intimate (or at least chummy) relationship with a world leader, ie "Kofi Annan told me this morning..." The truth is Kofi Annan told a roomful of journalists amongst whom was our friend from the BBC. If there was a personal interview with someone important you can bet your last penny we would be told about it.
Mike Thomas, Swansea
Any time anarchism is mentioned it is done so with the meaning of lawlessness, violence and chaos. Anarchism means without rules or without government. It is a real bastardisation of the term and takes everything away from the beauty of a truly anarchic society.
I hate the gross over-use by news presenters of the word "indeed" when thanking someone for a contribution. They use it in nearly all instances, presumably to sound extra-friendly. Instead, it should be kept for use on the rare occasions when the thanks are much more than routine, eg when someone has reported breaking news of "the beginning of the end of the world". That really would deserve a "thank you very much indeed".
Prof Donald Read, Poulton
I hate it when it is announced that such and such a programme is on at 10 o'clock. No AM or PM.
David MacKinnon, Arrochar
The one that is most irritating when used by professional interviewers and presenters is "Welcome back". It applies mainly to those working in the commercial sector but the BBC is not immune.
The problem with "welcome back" is WE HAVEN'T BEEN AWAY - you have. The viewer remained static - it's the guy on the TV who departed.
Brendan Balfe, Dublin
"Between you and I" or "they gave you and I" or other uses of "I" when it should be "me". It's an over-correction! Is it too late to stop, or can the BBC lead the way on this? Sorry to be a grammar cop, but it hurts the ears.
Katya, New York, New York
"And now on BBC2 Newsnight."
Richard Tew, Poole
"We're almost out of time, but tell us briefly" and "We'll see you later". (How will you see me?)
Bernard Mellor, Langley, BC, Canada
Why is practically every initiative on crime or immigration or pollution, to name a few, always described as "tough, new measures/legislation/policy"? Drives me bonkers and has gone on for years. There, I've said it: one less reason for me to shout at the radio and TV!
Since you have opened the topic up, please can we take it on to the weather forecasters who appear at the end of the news? They persist in using "(insert verb as appropriate) ... its way" to describe the movement of weather; thus "easing its way", "drifting its way" etc. Note that they usually employ a verb that needs no additional phrase and they often make the verb out of a noun. I once heard "positioning its way". While we are at it can you stop them saying "as well", as well? When they have uttered a sentence with a dying fall, they just cannot leave it be - they just have to add two more pointless little words (as well).
Rupert Butler, Axminster Devon
"Well..." Don't feel too bad, though. Whereas in Britain presenters start their answers to questions asked with "Well...", over here in Holland they start their answers with "Uhhh" which is repeated after every other word they utter. So never mind, Newsnight is still my favourite programme. That is, well, uhhh, amongst other excellent BBC programmes. Greetings and please keep up your high standards!
Mrs WM de Gorter, Amstelveen, Holland
Who needs Jeremy Paxman to write the Newsnight column when we have such wit and observation in Peter Barron. For some of us overseas who would rather be in the UK the internet link with the BBC is a most welcome alternative to TV. Whilst we can watch quality BBC reports on our computers we are unfortunately, in North America, more used to watching 50" screen TVs with high definition digital broadcasts. My computer just can't compete with that. It takes more skill to put together the written word in my opinion. Keep up the good work Newsnight. Living abroad is made all the more bearable by your internet access.
Denise Hunt, Oakville, Canada (formerly UK)
"And now over to our correspondent" which more often than not launches into a conversation between the studio based presenter and the remote journalist rather than an uninterrupted fully formed report on the subject. I feel that it demeans the correspondent and makes it look like there were questions that only the presenter could imagine to which the correspondent has to give impromptu, possibly incomplete, answers.
Martin Dayman, Oxford
"Audacious robbery" used when a gang of armed violent criminals attack security guards and steal OUR money. Such criminals are merely dangerous thugs who should be incarcerated for an extremely long period of time. I would rather see the term "audacious" reserved for the truly brave and intrepid legal acts that are worthy of news coverage such as the rescue of Russian submariners trapped underwater.
Philip Barclay, Altrincham
The phrase Tim Henman (or Greg or Andrew) CRASHED OUT of Wimbledon (or whichever Open tournament). He lost a game!
George Prusinski, Loughborough, Leicestershire
"Newsnight's getting under way on BBC TWO now." Surely once in a while it could be rephrased? "If you want to watch Newsnight...
Malcolm Hooson, Cambridge
"From the word 'go'" - just when the hell is that? And, when they say things like "five million people a month pass through Waterloo" when I know ten of them must be me.
Gerry Bond, Reading
"Troops are on the ground." Can't they just "there" like everyone else?
Ross Bellette, Christchurch, New Zealand
The most annoying newsroom phrase is "And finally" because it never is! Even when we all thought it was finally finally, Sir Trevor showed up not five minutes later with another newsy programme. Maybe the term should be changed to "And penultimately".
Llewellyn, Somerton, Oxfordshire
Any phrase or sentence with word "engage" in it. Engage, as far as I'm concerned, should be restricted to gears in a car, a state of intending marriage and an occupied public convenience.
David K, Ilford
"Back in a little while" - implies something flexible and organic, rather than the necessary precision of returning at the exact same time, to the second, every night. "Back in a little while, with the latest headlines" - no, back with the same headlines of 25 minutes ago. "Bye for now" - would anyone dream of saying "bye" to someone they were going to meet again less than five minutes later? An alternative: "We'll now break for your local news before the closing headlines."
Andrew Brown, Leamington Spa
AND ON THE SUBJECT OF PIZZAS WITH CHEESE...
Why pizza without cheese? Italian "pizza Margherita", made with tomato and mozzarella cheese, is delicious and the most popular in Italy. Everybody loves it. And excuse, me it's not true that "Cheese is an American affectation". It's an Italian affectation, rather.
Paolo Di Mizio, Rome, Italy
Yes pizza is better without cheese, hence, I make my own.
Georgia Blackwood, Birmingham
You can keep the cheese off the dough but that still won't be a pizza. If you don't know it's a pizza - it isn't.
Peter Farrell, Croydon
Pizza without cheese? Never! I agree that thick, sticky, greasy cheese is anathema, but what about buffalo mozzarella? This is what pizza was invented for!
Absolutely a pizza should be thin and crisp, with tomato, herbs, garlic - a little dried chilli is a must and most definitely no cheese.
Kashmir Kaur, Bingley
I just come back from Shanghai, China. Over there, they have invented a pizza without cheese. It's getting popular.
Alice Shay, Calgary, Canada
Very strange. Armando Ianucci says that cheese on pizza is an "American affectation". Well, that settles it, then. Has it escaped everyone's attention that Mr Ianucci is, in fact, Scottish? This simple fact alone automatically disqualifies him from any discussion on food - he dislikes cheese on his pizza, presumably, for the simple reason that it slips off when he deep-fries it.
Steve, Clearwater, Florida