THE NEWSDESK: The day ‘rolling’ news stopped in Abergavenny

3:20pm Monday 21st January 2013

By Maria Williams

IT’S been a big week for rolling TV news. And we’ve seen the most and least impressive aspects of it.

Firstly, the aftermath images from the London helicopter crash, the shocked commuter interviews, the emergency service response.

Something we all saw unfolding before our eyes on TV – and the sort of incident for which rolling news channels are made.

But, the snow, the snow.

The Met Office red alert warning was, of course, massively newsworthy.

And there were great tales of snow “heroes” – teenagers who helped pensioners by digging out their complex, pupils who struggled through to sit exams, and NHS staff who hiked into local hospitals.

But the rolling news format was caught napping.

On Friday the media descended on my home town, Abergavenny, as one of those bracing themselves for being in the red zone.

We watched with interest as mayor Sam Dodd, who won admiration from the Borgen-obsessed and fashionistas at Argus Towers for her Nordic hat/ski jacket/mayoral chain combo, was interviewed twice by Daytime’s Richard Gaisford on the town’s preparations.

So far, so good.

But Sky News then set up camp in Cross Street for the entire day, its shivering and increasingly desperate reporter grasping at any poor soul who wandered past to the town’s Aldi for an interview.

The nearby Spar shop’s workers gave him the scoop of the day – that people had been in to buy bread and milk.

Thankfully, the mayor also popped along to help him out and repeat what she’d told ITV hours earlier, confirming our opinion that she rocked that hat.

And all was taking place as traffic was calmly negotiating the town centre, roads were clearly still open and the bemused locals were trying to work out why on earth the newshound didn’t move along the Heads of the Valleys to Brynmawr or Merthyr, which were much more seriously hit.

Those of us who have lived in Dowlais could tell of its special micro-climate akin to Moscow.

Which, of course, local reporters had remembered – hence the impressively snowy images on local TV news.

After the trudge-train-trudge of my journey to work, and back, I passed the spot where Sky had been at around 6.30pm.

All trace had gone, alas, no chance of sauntering past with my ‘Hello Mum’ sign, the only activity three teenage girls squealing as they threw snowballs at one another, while bored takeaway workers looked out from behind steamed up windows.

Rolling news had finally packed up and rolled on.

● THE good deed of the week award goes to Swansea City’s Angel Rangel and his wife, Nikki, who were at a sandwich shop when the manager said he would have to throw out a load of food, so instead they ensured it got to a city homeless shelter.

From Russia with love, and less tax

ACTOR Gerard Depardieu is no longer French. He’s Russian.

He has a Russian passport thanks to Vladimir Putin, and can now avoid paying his French taxes.

And he’s already decided a Russian court was right to jail members of the punk band Pussy Riot for staging an anti- Putin and pro-free speech protest in a church.

“The French love to criticise,” Depardieu said on Russian state TV. “Take, for instance, the Pussy Riot story. Imagine if these girls entered, for example, a mosque. They wouldn’t have come out alive. Even in a Catholic world that would have been scary. But when I say things like that in France, they think I am an idiot.”

Hmm. Wonder why? And he’s also started criticising the Russian opposition, branding them political lightweights.

Let’s hope with all this putting of Depardieu eggs in one basket, Mr Putin does not tire of Mr Depardieu’s friendship, say, because of another “pipigate” incident.

Because then Mr Depardieu would have to go back to a country where more than 60 per cent of those polled recently disapprove of his tax exile. And pay his fair share. How awful.


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