Whizz bang technology’s always got a downside, I suppose. I bet everyone got all excited about Guglielmo Marconi and his marvellous wireless equipment, but a certain Dr Crippen had cause to curse the name later.
On the upside, it lead to the radio and Workers Playtime, Tony Hancock and The Goon Show, but, lest we forget, it also led to the creation of the monster that is Noel Edmonds, a man who is now conspiring to buy the BBC.
He is, you know. He says he’s got a group of like-minded individuals who are pooling their pocket money to buy the corporation.
Well, this came as a shock to me. I had no idea Edmonds had friends, like-minded or otherwise. I do seem to recall he had that big pinky rubbery blobby sidekick called . . . ummmm . . . oh yes, Mr Blobby. Well, there we have it.
Noel is worried. Oh yes, he is so worried that his suspiciously smooth forehead wrinkled, albeit slightly.
The Beeb is throwing its money away, he says, on nonsense like Welsh Television and the BBC World Service.
Too right, Mr Edmonds, so with you there. Why, what about the money it chucks at rubbish like Top Gear or pointless drivel like the Six O’ Clock News? What’s the point of that then, eh? That just worries people unnecessarily. People don’t need to know what’s going on. We have the internet for that, and we all know how reliable that is.
Why, I read just the other day on the interweb that David Icke says that Arran is going to sink. Now that’s good, reliable information, and well worth having if you’re planning a shufty around Goat Fell. Think I might just book for Crimea instead, I hear it’s lovely this time of year.
Why should we be worried about missing planes, sabre-rattling Russians or Gideon Osborne’s latest gnomic utterances? Let’s not worry about that. Let’s have Mr Blobby lurk outside Number 10 to face splat the PM with a custard pie. Oh, hang on, that’s not a bad idea . . .
These potential Beeb-buyers have called themselves Project Reith, after the first director-general of the BBC.
I’m guessing here, but I don’t think they know much about the formidable Scottish Presbyterian who wrote the mission statement for the fledging station: “educate, inform, entertain”.
Mind you, it does have to be said that John Reith’s idea of entertaining was probably a shedload of ballet followed by a documentary about early Egyptian civilisation and then a side-splitting interview with the minister in charge of turnip production in Fife.
Mr Blobby need not apply.
LICENCE TO CHILL
Oh, and rather oddly, Noel says he doesn’t pay his licence. How on earth does he get away with that? Doesn’t that van with the wobbly radar thing on top lurk outside his house, then? Do you think he’s got a tablecloth ready to whip over the telly if the door bell goes?
Here’s the thing. I pay my licence, so how about you just stop taking advantage of my contribution and blob off?
Radio service is just world class
ONE of the things that really gets Project Reith in a rumbledethumps is the BBC World Service which, as Mr Edmonds says, most people don’t know how to get, like it’s a virus or something.
You get it by either twiddling a dial, pressing a button or getting your radio to scan. Or, like me, you ‘get it’ by driving home very late at night and Radio 4 elegantly hands over to the World Service and the entire planet talks to you.
I’ve heard reports from Jamaica about mums saving sons from gang culture and stories from Kabul where brave women campaign for their daughter’s education. I listened to a heartbreaking interview with a Norwegian fisherman who lost his brothers when their trawler disappeared in the 1970s. He suspected the boat had snagged her nets on a Soviet submarine.
The world is suddenly a smaller place and it’s good to get to know the neighbours better.
Nation really can speak peace unto nation, as the Beeb’s motto says.
Auntie still has her moments
OLD Auntie Beeb has a lot of faults. We’ve mentioned Clarkson and co, but Auntie’s a game old bird who can bang out great programmes. The drama 37 Days, about the descent into the First World War, when nation spectacularly failed to speak to nation, was a masterpiece.
Sherlock has Benedict Cumberbatch in it. Yes. I am that shallow.
And I tell you what, the minute news starts to break, I instinctively check in with the Beeb. Until that bloke with the Welsh accent tells me, then it hasn’t happened. And if Jackie Bird has her serious face on then I know it’s going to be really bad.