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Live From Downing Street Hardcover – 25 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593066804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593066805
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Sharp-witted, full of surprises and with a great sense of history, Nick Robinson pulls back the curtain on an essential part of the democratic story. For everyone who wants to know more about the long, and sometimes hilarious, mud-wrestle between power and the media - and about the man behind the glasses - this is a must." (Andrew Marr)

"Canny, plain-speaking and fair, Nick Robinson writes as the pentrating insider he is." (Matthew Parris)

"Nick Robinson skips lightly through the great battles between Downing Street and the broadcast media... a fun, well-paced account" (Sunday Times)

"[Robinson] comes across much as he does on television or radio: never at a loss and able to deliver not just the news, but a definitive judgment on it" (Financial Times)

"an intriguing and thoughtful reflection on how politics is reported and the mistakes that are made on both sides when power and the media meet" (The Scotsman)

Book Description

The Inside Story of Politics, Power and the Media

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Martin Beecroft on 2 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The face of Nick Robinson will be familiar to anyone who has watched a BBC News bulletin in recent years and heard those immortal words "Live from Downing Street". I have grown to like Mr Robinson's easy style of reporting political stories, most of which can be pretty heavy going. He has a pleasant easy going manner and explains without patronising the viewer. His book 'Live From Downing Street' follows on in his same easy style making it probably the most enjoyable book on British politics I have ever read.

Mr Robinson's knowledge and insight into the world of politics, and the broadcasting of it, is marvellous. I have found this book extremely interesting and entertaining and quite an eye opener. I can only recommend this book, not only as being highly educational on what at first sight would appear to be a rather dry subject, but, also as a highly entertaining and well researched read. If only more writers could follow Mr Robinson's example of how to write to inform and entertain.

Nick Robinson makes mention of his early years and his friend Will Redhead, sadly killed in a car accident that Nick himself was lucky to survive. Will was of course the son of that 'God' of political broadcasting Brian Redhead, mentor and guide to Mr Robinson in his formative years.

This book deserves to be successful, and I can only say to anyone reading this review, buy it, read it and enjoy it. You won't be disappointed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Warren on 13 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What is "Live from Downing Street"? Is it a history of British political broadcasting, an examination of the evolving role of the Prime Minister through the creation of mass media, a consideration of the relationship between Parliament and the media, a look at the growing rift between the BBC and Government, a political thesis, or Nick Robinson's memoir?

The problem is, it's all of these, and yet none. Sadly, the book proves the old adage about a jack-of-all-trades being master of none. The narrative makes several abrupt shifts, so that at the end you reading almost an entirely different book to when you started. For the most part, all of the individual sections in themselves are excellent. They just don't fit well together.

I was riveted by the historical discussion of the relationship between Parliament and the media - how the BBC was founded and almost immediately found itself clashing with the Government of the day; how first radio and then television found their way into the Houses of Parliament; how Prime Ministers adapted to the role of being in front of the camera, and used it to their advantage. Parliament itself seems to fade out of the story soon after the TV cameras arrive, and the Prime Minister becomes ever more central to the tale.

But, once Robinson becomes a protagonist in the story, it shifts away from this fascinating overview, and an anecdotal format begins to creep in. His personal views and opinions make their way into what was previously more of a neutral treatment of the political figures in question. How each Prime Minister deals with the press becomes "how each Prime Minister deals with Nick Robinson".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr Bookman on 18 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a gem of a book. I was sceptical at first because I wasn't sure if a journalist could pull off a historical account of the relationship between politicians and the media. I couldn't have been more wrong.

The book is essentially in two parts. The first is an - admittedly, at times, a little dry - overview of the development of lobby journalism. I found this section of the book became more interesting after the invention of the television and creation of the BBC, which Nick Robinson is clearly passionate about. However, the first part is still readable and is more than countered by the second part: a very engaging and gripping account of relations between New Labour and the media and the Leveson inquiry and contains some very illuminating anecdotes about several of the key players. I couldn't put the book down at this point and finished it within a matter of days. Robinson's concluding remarks draw the various strands of the book together with rare skill and leave the reader with some thought-provoking concepts about the future of broadcast news in the 21st century.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with the least amount of interest in the media or politics - you are guaranteed a page-turner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 21 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Nick Robinson describes his job as reporting 'on what those in power are thinking and doing and on those who attempt to hold them to account in Parliament'. It's not an easy task as politicians appear to work on the principle that ignorance is bliss where the public is concerned. The televised verbal jousting at Prime Minster's Question time has become an integral part of news and it's a sad comment that Parliament took so long to accept the people had the right to see and hear what their representatives did. It had a long pedigree. In 1560 the procedures of the Commons stated, 'Every person of the Parliament ought to keep secret and not to disclose the secrets and things done and spoken in the Parliament house'. In 1642 an MP was expelled from Parliament for acting 'against the honour and privilege of this house' by publishing his Parliamentary speeches.

A century later William Hogarth provided a cartoon (which is reproduced in the book) depicting ' a huge naked bottom straddling the Treasury with people lining up to kiss it'. Everyone knew who was being lampooned. Walpole spent the equivalent of 2.5m pounds subsidizing newspapers supporting his policies. He regarded Parliamentary reporting as 'forgery of the worst kind'. He did not want the public to know what MP's were up to and, judging by the expenses scandal, it's an attitude still prevailing in some quarters. When William Pitt the Younger introduced censorship during the Napoleonic wars Speaker Abbott ordered the serjeant-at-arms 'to make special arrangements to ensure that never again would the words spoken important debate..... fail to reach the public'. By 1829 Hansard had established itself as the leading reporter of Parliamentary matters.
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