Happy Birthday Talkback

See that Talkback will be celebrating its 20th birthday next Friday. Love it or loathe it, its quite an achievement for David Dunseith and his team. I don’t listen everyday, and there are times that I become frustrated, bored or angry when I do. However, it has provided a vital and energetic platform for debate, discussion and contrasting views for 2 decades and that has been invaluable. David Dunseith remains impartial and unflappable, although he can become exaperated with the ‘usual whataboutery’ that is our cross to bear in Northern Ireland. That he remains interested in his subject and willing to engage with the public on the level he does marks him out as an outstanding journalist and presenter. I don’t know if he wants them, but many more years of talking back to you David! There will be a special show next Friday to mark the date, and I imagine it will be well worth a listen

  • balti house

    That Dunseith is a grumpy old curmudgeon off the air though. Sorry is that Ad Hominen?

    Actually the show has its moments and a fair amount of cross fertilization (not literally!) with slugger i should imagine in terms of contributors.

    Its at its best when David lets his callers rant in a manic and generally bigoted fashion and hoist themselves on their own petard. Although they never actually realise it and appear to go away smugly thinking that theirs is a point well made.

  • Greenflag

    ‘That Dunseith is a grumpy old curmudgeon off the air though’

    And who could blame him ? Chaps a saint for putting up with any of it at all at all 🙂

    Where he gets the patience from I don’t know ? No matter what the BBC pay him it would’nt be enough 🙂

    Has to be an OBE on the way at the very least ?

  • lib2016

    It would be good to see him get something a little more concrete and with better expenses. Would he accept a seat in the Senate? He’d also be a useful Northern representative on any crossborder body, especially one with a decent salary 😉

  • Miss Fitz

    I was going to call him a saint in the post Greenflag, but decided that was a step too far on the post. Couldnt agree with the sentiment more though, he certainly has the patience of one.

    Balti, a little man playing alright, and sorta beside the point. It’s the man’s on air persona that merits discussion I suppose.

  • David is a pro. I don’t get to listen to Talkback that much, but I admire the manner in which he deals with the zoo animals that frequent the airwaves on occasion. He also sounds remarkably fresh given all those years he has been doing the show.

    Just one point though, I would contend David is far from impartial. He carries the typical pro-Belfast Agreement Liberal mindset so beloved of the BBC set. He accepts the legitimacy of the paramilitary proxy pondlife that masquerades as politicians and seems puzzled when certain people such as moi have pointed this out.

    That all said, I sincerely wish David and the team well. It’s a good listen when I do hear it.

  • fair_deal

    Time for a decent burial rather than a rousing chorus of happy birthday

  • Jo

    AT least he has a consistent attiutude towards the 2 ATW hosts who, when allowed on the programme, retreat to their vipers nest to spit venom at the BBC until the next time the local rep. is allowed, incredibly, to masquerade as a man of reason on Hearts and Minds.

    Claiming monopoly on truth, claiming to be a Christian while preaching racial hatred and endorsing political violence is not something David D. has stooped to, or is likely to.
    Unlike others, he has earned the respect of anyone sane in this country.

  • tok

    happy birthday david and thee team talkback is a enlightening and informative program I think it has with its informative format it has done in the north what the late late once did in thre south in the seventies and eighties and it may have played some small role in the peace process.

  • Jo,

    It is helpful to comment on a topic without resorting to gratuitous attacks on others who also take the time to comment here.

    I don’t appreciate your sniping at ATW on other sites, though it’s about as brave as you get.

    Final two points;

    ATW has 5 hosts. Stay informed before commenting.
    DD has also been pleasant when I have been invited onto his programme to comment. Again you display a lack of knowledge of what you write about.

  • Fanny

    “I don’t listen everyday…”

    MissFitz, dreadfully offtopic but I do hope this was atypo and that you haven’t joined the barbarians.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Mr Dunseith has one of the most thankless tasks in broadcasting, attempting to remain impartial in one of the most polarised societies on the planet, having some of his thunder stolen by young (and larger) pretender Stephen Nolan and having to hand over to perhaps the vilest programme on the airwaves — Hugo Duncan. The only bearable part of Hugo’s show is the stick Dunseith gives him at the start.
    All the best to David and the team — he’s as much a part of the fabric of NI society as the Ulster fry and the national team getting thumped by minnows.

  • Jo


    There was a somewhat subdued atmosphere over here after the match, I daresay Talkback will refer to that and other matters, on Monday. Hope you didn’t gamble too much on what was an odds-on for NI… 🙁

  • balti house

    gerry lvs castro

    Good comment and wondered how long it would take to get a reference to Stephen “widescreen” Nolan.

    The seething contempt at the handover to wee Hugo is a joy to witness.

    For what its worth DD does a good job at remaining impartial despite the provocation from the amoeba who appear on his programme.

  • Jo

    I would think Wm. Crawley is being groomed to take over from Dunseith when he retires.

    Mind u, Ludovic Kennedy and Robin Day struggled on for a while. Worthy comparators, non?

  • Shoutback

    I really have to agree with Fair Deal here, that it is time for a burial,

    Until I saw the name of the poster was Miss Fitz I really believed that Mick had given the blog space over to David Dun-nothing and his Talk-back if it’s against easy subject team.

    Soft option programmes or commentors are not to be applauded Miss Fitz “do try to keep up”

  • Jo

    I don’t understand why SB and FD think Talkback has run its course. Surely you don’t think that blogging has prevailed?

  • shoutback

    Because it’s boring, because it only tackles soft targets, because it will not tackle difficult or awkward subjects, because it runs from the church, the police, the wealthy, the middle classes and of course the Government.

    It is old, it is tired, it is cowardly, it is predictable, it has no fucking teeth it that enough reasons or do you actually need more.

  • baileywick

    Just checked Dunseith’s entry in wikipedia. It says he’s 73!!! Can that be right? Eight years after the usual retirement age, he must have been waiting to mark the 20th anniversary of Talk Back before announcing he plans to retire to spend more time with politics.

    Who’s the likely successor? My money’s on Crawley, too.

    Of course Talk Back should continue – the existence of the Stephen Nolan Show increases the need for Talk Back, otherwise BBCNI will have abandoned serious politics and comment in favour of tabloid shite.

  • Contrarian

    Ludovic Kennedy and Robin Day? Get real. David Dimbleby filled Day’s shoes in seconds. And Ludo? Who he?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”The seething contempt at the handover to wee Hugo is a joy to witness.”

    My personal favourite was ‘they’re looking for volunteers for the next mission to the moon. I’ve taken the liberty of booking Hugo a one-way ticket.’

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Hope you didn’t gamble too much on what was an odds-on for NI… 🙁 ”

    No I didn’t Jo — I’ve been around long enough to appreciate that the wee NI team rarely fail to disappoint. The last time I had a flutter was on Trimble losing his seat — I prefer dead certs.

  • Jo


    I did likewise, and managed a more positive prediction as well – Mark D. and (luckily) Alistair McD.

    I also backed Germany to win last night – and Ulster over at Ravenhill. It’s not personal, it’s business 😉

    Shoutback, ok, ok! Turn the volume down lol

    Baileywick, I am fairly sure he was born in 43 not 33. If the latter, he has worn well. John Simpson is also in his early 70s, though, and still broadcasting.

  • balti house

    DD is 73 and born in 1933!! FACT

  • Time for David to retreat to the world of “cute animal broadcasting”- an Ulster Rolf Harris if you like.

    Time for a new front for “Talkback”. Let’s bring Mark Simpson home!

  • Fanny

    “Let’s bring Mark Simpson home!”

    Er, there aren’t enough daleks in broadcasting already?

  • T.Ruth

    Mark Simpson would be an excellent replacement for DD who has, it appears to many of the majority community, a hatred of all things Unionist. I can remember a short period when the programme was under control of Vincent Hanna who was in a different class entirely. He was absolutely fair and impartial- a towering intellect with a genuine interest in people.A great democrat-greatly missed by this community-as a result of his untimely death. Hanna could have become a major peace-maker, respected by Unionists for his understanding of their views. David has always been regarded as more of an agitator and government apologist.
    There are so many times when DD displays what appears to be a snide contempt for those people who are inarticulate-generally working class people who may not have had David’s advantages in life.Unionists will be unlikely to mourn DD’s retirement from the airwaves when it comes-


  • Jo

    …where does this “hatred” of all things Unionist manifest itself? Is it the fact that he has the audacity to challenge (which he does all interviewees) Or is the perception that as an “agent” of the BBC (what do those initials stand for again?) he is *agin* Unionism – a”selfloather” (because he doesnt adopt an prone position?) or *whispers* do you think he’s a LUNDY?

  • Jackboot

    Never been impressed by Mark Simpson on Talk Back. Much too stiff. Vincent Hanna is a great loss to us all.

    Do you think Paisley dislikes Dunseith so much because his initals are DD, and Paisley doesn’t have a real DD?

    Just a though ;-p

  • GavBelfast

    I really don’t see this ‘anti-Unionist’ attitude in David Dunseith.

    He can come across as a bit smug and pompous at times, but that’s a common trait in broadcasters, is it not? And it must take the patience of Jobe to anchor the programme at times.

    I liked Barry Cowan in the role, the programme seemed genuinely fresh and mould-breaking in those days, when Martin Dillon was also involved. Some of Coan’s spats with Paisley, in the days when the DUP let him out, were legendary. Perhaps a clip or two from that era might be forthcoming this week.

  • GavBelfast

    “I really don’t see this ‘anti-Unionist’ attitude in David Dunseith”

    I agree. wendy Austin on the other hand…

  • hastalavista

    Has anyone else heard a rumour that the BBC has banned the word Sodomite, following its use on Talk Back by Rev David McIlveen? Can this be true? Remember the DUP’s Save Ulster from ****** Campaign in the early 80s? I’d be amazed if the Beeb’s political correctness tzar thought he could get away with banning the use of a word that’s as old as Reverend McIlveen’s Bible. Anyone else hear anything about this?

  • Brendan, Belfast

    what the heck is ATW?

  • Miss Fitz

    A Tangled Web, Brendan, I imagine


  • meeja hoor

    Dunseath’s sneering comtempt for the law-abiding people of Northern Ireland and the clear nationalist bias of that programme are shameful.
    Thankfully Nolan’s show’s success, moronic as it is, means that when DD goes, it is over.

  • Barry Cowan was excellent and as an interrogator-in-chief he gave you a really hard time. (Which was good fun, in retrospect.) Barry died all too young, and it was a great loss to local broadcasting in my view.

    As for who should succeed DD, I figure someone whose initials are similar, if not quite the same. Impartial and professional are the bywords!

  • Fanny

    Whoever succeeds DD, s/she will not be a Roman Catholic. That would go against the ethos of BBC NI.

    Anyone fancy a little flutter on that?

  • perturbed as always

    Fanny, wise up. Are you really checking the religion of the Radio Ulster presenters now? Anyway, if you do, it looks pretty balanced to me…

    630 – Seamus and Wendy (RC and P)
    900 – Nolan (P)
    1030 – Gerry (RC)
    1200 – Dunseith (P)
    130 – Hugo (RC)
    300 – Jones RIP (P)
    500 – Mark and Karen (P and RC)
    630 – Marie-Louise (RC)
    700+ – WTHK (who the hell knows)

    That’s 5 RC and 5 P. Is that not good enough?

  • Fanny

    I’m referring to Talkback. Do you honestly think that the rabid Protestants who call to rant would accept an RC presenter?

    A tenner. Any takers?

  • GavBelfast

    Pathetic Fanny. Pathetic.

  • Fanny

    I know, Gav. But that’s the way things are in NI.


  • Jo

    Well, if DD really is 73, I think he may well want to retire sooner than I had envisaged.
    I can’t really see myself putting up with the sh*t in 40 years time – it’s hard enough to do it now!

    Perhaps the good man himself will read this and comment this week?

  • Whatever

    Fanny, you’ve lost it. The religion of the presenter is irrelevant. Talk Back regularly has Catholic stand-ins when David’s away.

  • Miss Fitz

    As always, the thread has meandered, but its still a useful discussion.

    I was struck by those figures on the presenters, not for religion but for gender.

    Wendy is obviously a GMU institution, and for good reason. But we have to wait almost 12 hours for more female input?

    That is an issue, and I refuse to believe that there are no other adequate female presenters that couldnt be scheduled during the day. The wimmin dont do too badly at the weekends, but that is one male dominated daytime scheduling by Radio Ulster.

  • Jo

    Miss Fitz

    Liz Kennedy took over from George during pm some time ago and made a very good fist of it.

    A less professional job was done by by the noisy woman from Hole in the Wall Gang but that was due and down to the usual standard of that bunch.

  • Fanny

    “Talk Back regularly has Catholic stand-ins when David’s away.”

    Sorry, Whatever, I hadn’t noticed.

  • Jo

    The religion doesnt matter a toss. DD gets up extreme Unionists’ noses and he’s a Prod, ffs.

  • Whatever

    Miss Fitz, RU is not the only station with a male-dominated schedule. Just look at Radio 2. Any anyway, most women prefer strong male presenters on the radio rather than female ones. Obviously. 😉

  • Whatever

    p.s, Miss Fitz, who are you putting your bet on as the Dunseith successor?

  • Fanny

    OK, an even twenty-five says it’ll be a male Prod.

    Still no takers?

  • Miss Fitz

    For what its worth, I think William Crawley has the best voice, intelligence and manner to take on the job. He is intelligent, erudite and has a very warm manner with people.

    I agree with whoever said that we need Talkback as an antidote to Stephen Nolan. Talkback is not meant to be a major investigative programme, it is meant to do what it says on the tin: let the people have a voice.

  • Fanny

    Miss Fitz, I’m with you 100%.

  • Jo

    Miss F/Fanny

    Do you not think though that William has a somewhat sneering manner? Its something in his voice, I think. He is intelligent, though.

  • Miss Fitz

    <<< staggers back woundedNo Jo, I think William is balanced, and I have never noticed the sneer. Will keep beady eye out for said mannerism, but not convinced

  • Fanny

    Jo, I’m afraid I agree again 100% with Miss Fitz. (I’ll have to stop this sycophancy.)

    William is also well versed in religion so can take on all the fulminators. He also fulfils the BBC brief: he’s prod and he’s male.

  • Miss Fitz

    And cute Fanny, but thats a breach of BBC code

  • Fanny

    This is true.

  • Bushmills

    Dunseith and his programme are well past there best. He’s never happier than when he’s sneering at some old dear for her “stupid” views. Put an articulate intellegent caller up against him and he runs a mile.

    Next presenter? It has to be Gerard from Clonard! He’s quoted every day and obviously shares Dunseith’s political view-point.

  • Bushmills

    Seriously though, I think the next host should be Noel Thompson – sure he shares the general BBC, pro-GFA, anti-DUP, liberal bias that DD has, but at least he’s capable of real bite and probing questioning not just the smug middle-class condacension!

    As for the Boul’ Wendy – I am almost certain that she was at one point a member of the NIWC.

  • Jo

    Ahh, he’s CUTE? Sorry, of course now I understand, Miss F. An able contender! 😉

  • StepOlympics

    Is Jo really criticising a presenter for sounding sneering at times on Talk Back? Can you imagine how difficult it must be to AVOID sounding sneering about the kind of shit those presenters have to drag their careers through? I’d like MORE sneering from the often wimpish BBCNI lot. I bet Jo think Paxman should be put out to pasture for sneering at Michael Howard or Tony Blair. I can hear it now … Talk Back in five years time presented by a sneer-proof female presenter:

    Caller: I’d like to complain about a floral display outside the city hall. There are green, white and yellow flowers in a pattern that can only be intended to offend Protestants. This is a disgrace and I demand that the head gardener be strung up by his green fingers on a lamppost.

    Presenter: Thank you for that colourful and interesting comment. Do you enjoy gardening, yourself?

    If that’s the future of Talk Back, no thanks. You’d be better putting Nolan on until 1.30. Bet he couldn’t do it without sneering, though.

  • Jo


    LOL, I was just reporting my feelings on the tone of a radio voice. However, now I hear the owner of said voice is a bit of all right, I of course support his canididature. 🙂

  • HeadHeedyin

    Noel Thompson? Hmmm. Cardboard. Sorry, but he is. You couldn’t loosen him up with a gallon of WD40.