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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For All
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...
Published 17 months ago by Martin Beecroft

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been an excellent book, if it knew what it was about!
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...
Published 9 days ago by Michael Warren


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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For All, 2 Nov 2012
By 
Martin Beecroft "bittmaster" (North Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining politics - who'd have thought it!, 29 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. C. J. Nicholls (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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At the age of 66 I try to avoid most of the news, especially political stuff, but I found this romp through our politicians' attitudes to radio and television both informative and entertaining. There are amusing anecdotes and small asides which make it an interesting read, even if you, like me, are fed up with our ruling class and the media's obsession with 'Whitehall Village' gossip.
Politicians' diaries are usually boring and full of self-serving lies (those of Chris Mullin being a very entertaining exception) - I did once try to read one volume of Tony Benn's loony left ramblings - torture! It's great to get the other side of the story, revealing some of their faults and prejudices. I'll listen with more sympathy to Mr Robinson's TV reports as he battles to remain neutral in the face of criticism from the politicians - each of whom always assumes that his or her opinion is the correct one, and the only one we should hear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 18 Aug 2013
By 
Mr Bookman (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lIVE fROM dOWNING sTREET, 26 Nov 2012
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I thought the book well written and wouldnt have expected anythjing else. The end chapters I found more interesting than the early ones but all in all a g00d read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spinners Spun, 7 Dec 2012
By 
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
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My admiration for Nick Robinson's great sense of humour, impressive intelligence and public speaking skills as displayed in a promotional talk led me to purchase this book. It provides an interesting explanation of the influences which moulded him and how he trained for his profession, set in the context of broadcasting in general, with a timely reminder of the BBC's contribution to free speech.

Although careful not to spill too many beans on members of the current government, he provides a store of anedotes on former key figures - a paranoid Wilson, on-a-mission Thatcher and not-as-stupid as people think Bush.

If you have followed the news closely since long before Robinson became a journalist in the 80s, you may be a little disappointed to find this is a rehashing of what you already know. The casual reference to names of current media figures may tend to make the book date fairly rapidly.

However, if you enjoy an entertaining if fairly superficial read, or have come to "the news" recently and would like to learn more of "the background", I recommend "Live from Downing Street".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational, Informative, Entertaining, 12 Nov 2012
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Nick Robinson proves that there is far more to being a political journalist than simply asking questions and reporting the responses. His insight into how senior politicians saw the role of television was fascinating.
A great book which I know will be read again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 26 Nov 2012
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excellant read, good insight into politics and how it works, coupled with the history of the Commons. Really enjoyed it, well written and entertaining. I am a fan of NIck's and enjoy his political comments.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interest, 19 April 2014
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Well researched and written. Gives good insight into the relationships between the press, other media, correspondents, senior politicians and their close advisers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been an excellent book, if it knew what it was about!, 13 April 2014
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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". Although Robinson, in his preface, specifically says "it is not a memoir", it starts to feel an awful lot like one, and it began to lose me at that point.

It almost seems like Robinson changed his mind about what the book was about part way through. As it steps away from history into almost real-time developments, the timeline gets stretched out, and we spend many more pages dealing with individual events, rather than looking at the whole context. Perhaps that is merely a consequence of lacking that historical viewpoint, but it feels unbalanced and overemphasised.

The final chapter, which I understand is new to the paperback edition (and, therefore, its Kindle equivalent), is a defence of the BBC and its impartiality, in the wake of the various scandals that have engulfed it in the last two years. Whilst Robinson's argument is well-written, wholehearted, and - in my view - convincing, it has almost no relevance to the history that goes before, and seems entirely out of place. It could perhaps have been better suited to another work.

In conclusion, it is a good read, with many fascinating things to take away from it, just something of a failure in execution. If you excuse the sudden shifts in tone and the gradual dilution of the original concept, there is much to learn in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Robinson's book revelatory, 14 Feb 2014
By 
W. Jones "Bill Jones" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live From Downing Street (Paperback)
This is an excellent book from a political 'insider', invaluable for finding out how politics and the media interact in practice.
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Live From Downing Street
Live From Downing Street by Nick Robinson (Paperback - 7 Nov 2013)
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