Electric Ink, Radio 4
David Attenborough's Life Stories, Radio 4
What's funny about the perilous state of the press? Quite a lot, actually
Sunday 07 June 2009
Having worked in newspapers since the days when computers were new-fangled, I feel well qualified to assess whether the new comedy series Electric Ink is up to the mark in its observations on the press, in the throes of an unprecedented crisis. As it happens, the writer, Alistair Beaton, is spot-on, capturing the rising panic of an endangered species.
Robert Lindsay is reporter Maddox Bradley, a careworn fossil from the days of high ideals and long liquid lunches who's resisting attempts to drag him on to the web, said to be newspapers' last-best hope.
"We've become obsessed with making the online edition," he rants in fine style to the news editor. "We've forgotten that it's quite important for a quality national daily to have content. I'm sorry, but it comes as no surprise to me that fewer and fewer people are willing to shell out a pound for a double-page sofa ad, a free DVD and a full-colour wallchart displaying 50 varieties of asparagus." Ouch.
He proceeds to explode the website's lead story about a new stress disorder, exposing it as a drugs industry plant. The online editor is carpeted for rehashing press releases. "But I do it all the time," he says. Double ouch.
The daily conference is nicely done, too. The editor complains about that morning's wallchart. "Come on, people: dinosaurs, newspapers – must we remind the readers?" Double ouch and ouch again.
In the Indy's old place near Canary Wharf it was possible to escape the pressures of the impending newsprint apocalypse by nipping out of the office for five minutes and watching the cormorants, whose biggest decision in life was when to plop down for another eel. In his series Life Stories, Sir David Attenborough revealed the delightful habits of an even more enviable creature, the three-toed sloth, which spends most of its time dozing.
That's me, I thought. It emits a faint bronchial wheeze and the occasional whistle. That's me. Its legs can't support it, so when it's on the ground it shuffles around on its belly, very, very slowly. That's me on Friday nights. So, you see, it's been scientifically proven. I am a three-toed sloth.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 3 How much sex should I be having?
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
- 5 Betting company 'refuse to pay' after student wins £1,000 from 50p bet on Roger Federer
The 1975 leave social-media after tweeting cryptic comic strip hinting at break up
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Winner Matisse had secret dog double, says owner Jules O'Dwyer
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Vote reveals Jules O'Dwyer beat Jamie Raven by just 2% despite using 'stunt dog double'
Top Gear to follow Have I Got News For You format with 'different host for each episode'
Britain's Got Talent final 2015: Ofcom receives 90 complaints about Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden's 'revealing dresses'
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history