July 11, 2008

10 Seconds is a Long Time When Downing Street’s Heathcliff Takes to YouTube SKETCH


HE may fancy himself in the image of Emily Bronte's Heathcliff but Gordon Brown has proved he is no star of the small screen. The Prime Minister 's second outing on YouTube, the video posting website, has proved that even the whizzbang excitement of the internet can be rendered dull in the hands of a master of detail.

To boost his online image the Prime Minister last month launched his own No 10 site on the video channel, urging viewers to send in their video questions which he promised to respond to. True to his word, Mr Brown is back on YouTube answering questions on a range of issues.

Some of the liveliest of the 300 participants - and it was good to see Miles Dyer, the long haired teenager who donned a gold tie and skull cap for his recording make it through the audition process - had their questions answered personally by the PM.

But while the medium may be new for Mr Brown his message was grindingly familiar. Sitting in a midshot pose and talking straight to the camera Mr Brown told the viewers why he had the best job in the world.

"My idea in life, why I get up in the morning, is everyone should have the chance to make the most of their talents, that's what I am determined to do, " said Mr Brown in response to a straight question about why he should be in charge at all.

In all his answers, from knife crime to voting age, Mr Brown's media team forgot the first rule of Youtube - that if nothing much happens in the frame after 10 seconds it's time to move on Meanwhile, over on Toryworld David Cameron's Webcameron diary, his online videoblog, is not bang up to date but the standard of the filming, and the performance of the star, cannot be in doubt. Team Cameron's slick production values and eyecatching material leave the single-shot Mr Brown look as if he is broadcasting in black and white on an old 625-lines television.

Webcameron documents its hero's dynamic progress through a happening world. There's footage of Dave hugging Bob Geldof, Dave and the Dali Lama, Dave at a surf beach in Cornwall with cool music in the background and - unavoidable this one - Dave with David Davis in Haltemprice. Funny, Mr Cameron doesn't look so upbeat in that dispatch.

www. youtube. com/downingstreet www. webcameron. org

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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