"Can't get a word in edgeways" sums up last week's edition of Question Time when David Dimbleby asked a member of the audience in Plymouth to leave the building, as his constant heckling made the whole programme unbearable.

It's the first time it has happened in the programme's long history.

I fear it won't be the last.

People do not seem to want to listen to others.

They have forgotten that the art of the debating is that there are supposed to be a share of opinions.

Granted, a lot of politicians berate their interrogators with "can you please let ME answer the question."

And then they don't ... with long-winded meandering explanations.

But now the public are getting in on the act and it doesn't help the rest of us who want to hear a reasonable exchange of views.

In an age of tweets and e-mails we seem to have lost the art of conversing.

On television we need people who can spot a loud-mouth and put them in their place just like Bill Connolly dealing with hecklers.

I am currently watching repeats of Michael Parkinson's classic interviews on BBC4.

Masterclasses in communication.

A few years ago I interviewed Michael at a BBC seasonal promotion.

Throughout our meeting he looked me straight in the eye, listened and carefully answered everything I asked him.

The very same technique that he used in such interviews with Hollywood legends.

His Richard Burton chat rates as one of the best interviews ever recorded for posterity.

We all need to listen and hear what others are saying.



Celebrity Masterchef should be called Celebrity Leftovers.

The next summer menu line-up includes an array of 'stars' who no longer shine and now fill up the B-list and C-list directories.

Vic Reeves went off the boil years ago and Ulrika 'Marmite' Jonsson now makes a living by being famous in reality shows.

One of Steps - currently being re-heated on their comeback tour - will be stepping into the culinary competition kitchen.

Celebrity reality shows now seem to book in one-time household names who need work to fill in time between pantos.

I nearly choked on my cupcake when I read The BBC say this is their 'strongest line-up yet.' 

Why can't they serve us A-listers?

How about a Stephen Fry-up?

Talking of turkeys, following the disastrous Nightly Show what are Channel 4 doing with Host the Week where each week a presenter is given an hour in an unscripted, embarrassing entertainment show.

Gogglebox's Scarlett did herself no favours with this unwatchable drivel.

What next for Little Miss Moffatt - Celebrity Masterchef?


SUPER Cooper

Everyone loved Tommy Cooper.

His shows are still being shown on TV and there have been many theatrical tributes to this comedy legend.

The latest is at Liverpool Epstein Theatre until Saturday starring affable and accomplished West End star Daniel Taylor who is gaining rave reviews for his performance.

It has the blessing of the Cooper estate.

Everyone, it seems, loved Tommy.

He only had to walk on stage and people would laugh.

Sir Ken Dodd recalled seeing the great man in a theatre dressing room.

Tommy took off his fez and a cascade of Smarties fell to the floor.

"My dandruff's getting worse," said Tommy ... just like that.


HAPPY Birthday to the cash machine.

Apparently, they are almost human.

Comedian Allan Carr says when he uses one he says 'thank you' to it.

Fifty years ago On the Buses star Reg Varney was the face behind the new contraption which are called ATMs – automatic teller machines.

Reg once told me he was chosen because he was 'the man in the street' and they didn’t want the machine to be intimidating.

It worked - they are now replacing banks as they can do 99 per cent of what they used to do and, unlike cashiers, they don't take lunch breaks.

Financial experts call the new models 'smart Atms'.

They can take photos, you can sign your name, interact with an I-phone and even see over your shoulders.

Who needs people?

I once arranged to meet someone for lunch by the office 'hole in the wall' where he worked.

He never turned up having not heard the nickname given to the cash dispensers.

Instead he went to the 'hole in the wall' pub in Liverpool city centre.


STREET of Fame - that's Mathew Street.

It is now the most famous musical thoroughfare in the world.

Forget Graceland.

Not only does is it host the Cavern but there are statues to the Fab Four and Cilla Black.

Now the club Eric's has been given a heritage plaque unveiled by Pete Wylie recently.

Eric's was 'my' Cavern where I saw OMD, Deaf School and Holly Johnson.

Memories are made of this world-famous tourist walkway.

I once recall walking down Mathew Street and I saw my most surreal Moptop moment.

I looked on as Japanese tourists clicked away at a Beatle statue while Ringo Starr himself walked by with a camera crew cracking jokes.


AND finally

Perchance to dream ...

A BBC report said we aren’t sleeping enough.

Researchers should have taken a look inside the House of Lords.

Peter Grant