Hi ukxmrv - I think you're spot on. I think the presenter suddenly realised what the story was during the interview and that it was a huge surprise. I had the impression he hadn't given it a millisecond's thought in preparation.
I don't wish to contradict anyone but here's an alternative interpretation you might like to consider.
I listen to the Today programme regularly and I think (never can be sure with an ME brain) that Evan Davis (who comes from an economics reporting background) is completely out of his depth with science. I believe I've heard him do rather amateurish science interviews before where he asks no probing questions at all and finishes by saying something very lame and 1950s like "thankyou for explaining all that to us Professor/Doctor X". My guess would be he realised he didn't know how to challenge MEA chap and just wanted to get out of an awkward space asap.
For non-UK people I would describe the Today as a serious news programme, high profile, quite focused on politics and rather 'establishment'.
I'm going to listen to the interview again and see if I can interpret the interviewer's tone better.
Regardless of its brevity I was very cheered that the media near-blackout in the UK has been so thoroughly broken.
Hi OverThe Hills - that's an interesting interpretation and I think it's maybe both - that is, that Evan Davis isn't competent to do science interviews and also (or perhaps, therefore) was taken by surprise to find that he was interviewing someone about a new HIV-like virus in the UK, news of which might cause a public panic. Either way, "awkward space" sums it up very nicely!
Thanks for explaining what the Today programme is for non-UK readers - I'd add that it's on our national BBC "serious" radio channel (BBC Radio 4) and is broadcast 6am to 9am - anyone in a politically influential position should be listening to it! It has 6.6 million listeners. There is no more high-profile, prestigious radio news show in the UK.
Nicely put, Sasha, and thats what I was so pleased about. Getting publicity on this show is the equivalent of publishing your research paper in Science. This is a solid goal for the ME biomedical team vs Myra McClures Lying Circus.
I was really surprised MEA/Charles Shephard is behind this I've viewed MEA as Chronic Fence Sitters and thought they were being far too conservative about retroviruses. I may email to congratulate him; I'd love to encourage a change of heart.
Yeah poor old Evan! He wasn't expecting that was he? Just thought it was going to be another quickie, 1 line each interview, 2 cents worth exchange of info and swift wrap up & summary before the main headlines at 7. And suddenly - wham!!!! He's right in the middle of the most controversial news story of the century - an infectious retrovirus in the public blood supply!!! Hells bells, all of a sudden, just like that and without warning, totally unprepared!!!
'HIV like infection in the blood supply?? Excuse me?? My editor never warned me about this! And its not even 7 am!!! I can't be asked to think of an intelligent reply right away! Oh my god the whole world's listening. Quick end the interview!!' Way too early to be thinking straight!