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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Janet's forgotten something

According to a magazine (of which I've never heard) called "V", singer Janet Jackson doesn't know what a supermarket trolley (or "cart") is for.

I should think that is the least of her worries. Clearly she has forgotten to put clothes on the top half of her body, and what's that mess on her head?

Presumably, the "wardrobe malfunctions" in her past have not been resolved!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Goodbye to Grandstand

This afternoon, the BBC is broadcasting the final edition of Grandstand, after a run of over 48 years. Mikey is not that interested in sport, but is sad that the BBC has axed so many of its great brands in recent years. It was bad enough when Crackerjack and The Good Old Days were axed in the 80s after thirty years each. More recently, Top of the Pops was abolished after 42 years, and there is still an almost total absence of live chart performances on British television. Panorama is rumoured to be under threat. What's next? Songs of Praise?

Yes, styles move on, but in turbulent times the BBC needs to retain as much goodwill as it can. Terminating good programmes which generate such goodwill among millions of viewers seems like a strange way of endearing itself to people on whose support the BBC badly needs.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sheath news

According to "research" by the Body Shop, nine out of ten young women "do not think a condom is an essential handbag item on a night out."

This statistic is being portrayed as a bad thing. But isn't this rather offensive to "young women"? Maybe most of them are not planning to have sex with a random stranger when they go out.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Brown warns of danger

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has declared that the UK's existence is at risk. Maybe it is, but he can't say he wasn't warned.

Four days before the 1992 General Election, the then Prime Minister John Major articulated the threat to the Union if the Labour Party returned to government: "The United Kingdom is in danger. Wake up! Wake up now before it's too late. If you think as I do, then vote as I do, and make sure it stays United."

So Gordon might like to ask himself which Party has been responsible for the potential break up of the United Kingdom, through the creation of a Scottish Parliament, creating different classes of MP in Westminster and splitting up England into "regions".

It could be something for him to think about when he's getting his hair washed.

Keeping the peace

He may not be Prime Minister for much longer, but Tony Blair has been busy outlining his support for the continuation of military intervention.

And he has clearly lost none of his charm with the ladies. Giving his speech on the flight deck of HMS Albion on Friday, the PM greeted the local MP Linda Gilroy with great tenderness.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Move over This Life

The "reunion" episode of This Life earlier this month was rather disappointing, as the characters seemed rather less than convincing (or even interesting) when removed from their familiar mid-nineties Southwark location.

Perhaps more promisingly, the same production company has produced a new drama called Party Animals, which follows the lives of young people working in politics. Sensibly, it appears that the producers are not concentrating on characters of a Liberal Democrat persuasion, as the antics of its MPs are even less convincing than those of Miles, Anna, Milly and Egg.

Future of the BBC

In his column in today's Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore questions whether the BBC is any good.

While I am sympathetic to some of his complaints of bias and dumbing-down at the Corporation, politicians (especially those with a Conservative viewpoint) must recognise the risks of tinkering with the BBC. For many millions of people in this country, the BBC still represents something that has been (and still is) cherished and part of the fabric of our nation over several decades. Therefore there is a great emotional attachment to it. The BBC has a great heritage and consequently has a duty to maintain the best of that, as well as being responsive to new broadcasting innovations of quality. Some at the the top of the BBC have not recognised this sufficiently, which has led to the almost entire demise of good public service programmes such as One Man and His Dog and Top of the Pops. Some highbrow commentators suggest that Radio 3 and Radio 4 should be retained, but that other networks should have advertising. Why? The warmth and companionship of Radio 2 on a Sunday evening, for example, could simply not be replicated on a commercial station, yet it remains immensely popular and greatly treasured by good folk throughout the Kingdom - although it remains to be seen how the imminent removal of Richard Baker will affect this.

Thee are many arguments for reform of the BBC's funding - but politicians who (through insensitive and ill-informed meddling) are seen to be responsible for damaging the Corporation could find that they face opposition and a lack of goodwill among a sizeable chunk of the nation. This is not an argument for sitting back and letting the BBC get away with irresponsible and inappropriate junk - but it is a warning against making apparently rational decisions with far-reaching consequences that override the feelings of millions.

The price of vandalism

A gang of graffiti vandals were caught defacing London Underground trains in east London last night. As they became aware that they had been spotted by security, it seems that two of them ran away into the path of an oncoming District Line train.

Apart from the ghastly loss of life, which could have been of benefit to society if they had decided to channel their skills into something more constructive, let us think for a moment about how this incident has affected those who do not deserve to have suffered as a result of this: the driver of the train, who must be emotionally traumatised at the vandals being killed as the train hit them; the emergency services who had to deal with the resulting carnage; the LU cleaners who will have to remove the unsightly scribbles from the train; and, of course, the travelling public who will have been inconvenienced by the delays and cancellations caused to their journeys by antisocial misfits who had no consideration or respect for the property and travelling environment of others.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Seeing Stars

On Sunday night, it was the 650th edition of the BBC's astronomy programme, The Sky at Night. Its presenter, Sir Patrick Moore, has complained that the celebratory programme was shown far too late.

It is true that it was broadcast at 1.55am. But it was repeated at 7.30pm on Monday on BBC4, and will also be shown this Saturday afternoon on BBC2, so it is not difficult to choose a time that is convenient.

The bigger question is why such a fuss is being made over the 650th edition, which is hardly that much of a special anniversary - especially when the show is due to celebrate its 50th birthday in a couple of months.

Mikey suspects that the intention of the complaint was to place a marker regarding the timing of the 50 Years special, so expect that to be shown at a more civilised hour on its first broadcast. Let's hope that Sir Patrick will make it that far.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Zoe Salmon in a bikini

Viewers of today's Blue Peter will have been delighted to have seen Zoe Salmon in the Palace of Westminster, persuading Members of Parliament to donate their shoes to help the Shoe-Biz Appeal for African orphans. As you can see, Gordon Brown and Shailesh Vara were among the MPs who appeared with Zoe.

But some viewers will probably have been more interested in the piece earlier in the programme, showing Zoe going swimming in the cold on New Year's Day.