GUERNSEY GETS ITS OWN DISCUSSION SHOW – TABLE TALK
Table Talk is a new kind of discussion show in which influential local figures take part in filmed roundtable conversations. Recorded live, each episode focuses on a particular theme drawn from the political, social and cultural issues that affect life on our Island.
The new programme, hosted by Jim Roberts, is the brainchild of Warren Mauger founder of Spike Productions and John Hibbs, who wanted to provide a platform for thought-leaders to express their ideas without criticism or attack.
John Hibbs said “Warren and I have become increasingly concerned by the tone of political discourse over the years. It has often become more about putting down your opponent, rather than engaging in a discussion. We hoped for a less adversarial conversation allowing for a more compassionate debate.”
“A critical component to the show’s feel was a presenter who embodied are values and we have that in Jim Roberts. We knew very early on in our discussions that Jim would be a perfect fit. He’s amazingly knowledgeable across a wide range of topics and really cares about Guernsey.” Warren Mauger said.
Jim thinks that Guernsey’s experience of covid, followed by its first Island-wide election, has led to an appetite for ongoing public debate.
“Outside of elections, public discourse in Guernsey has traditionally been confined to columns in the Press and the occasional radio phone-in. Social media is often antagonistic and partisan. Table Talk creates a new space within which interesting and knowledgeable people can interrogate ideas and discuss what’s best for the Island.
“We don’t want the guests on Table Talk to be limited to politicians and businesspeople,” says Jim. “Balance and variety is key. Innovators, intellectuals, influencers… if you’re well-informed and confident, and if you’re prepared to discuss a topic in good faith, you’re right for the show.”
Table Talk was first conceived late in 2020. Over the next few months, John and Warren built up their production team, recruiting Monica Hickey, who has worked on such programmes as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in New York, and William Carter, a third sector professional who acts as lead researcher. Spike Productions handles production and editing, with studio space provided by POS.
Warren Mauger said “The beauty of this format is that we can take on any subject and give it the space it needs to be discussed properly. We will take on tough subjects but we will also dive into any other area such as sports, culture, mental health, well being and everything in between”
He went on to say “this programme is a testament to the quality of our team members who each bring something special to the production and is a reflection on what can be done on Guernsey. There is no reason why we can’t regularly produce programmes of national broadcast quality here with the team we have around us.”
The first episode, which is on air from Sunday morning, looked at Guernsey’s handling of Covid and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Jim was joined by Lord Digby Jones, Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, rector of St Pierre du Bois and consultant psychologist Adrian Datta, and Martyn Dorey, investment actuary.
Their in-depth and at times animated conversation covered a range of topics, including the notion of Guernsey exceptionalism, the Island-wide election as a verdict on the States’ handling of the pandemic, the link between lockdown and mental health, social capital, post-covid war bonds, and whether Guernsey should borrow its way back to financial health.
“All of our thoughts are downstream from what we consume. We wanted a platform that allowed for intelligent debate from people we admire for us to consume. We hope that others enjoy it.” John said.