Letter from the editor: The weakest link


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The Independent Online

BBC Parliament (504 on Sky, 81 on Freeview) is likely to garner record viewing figures at 2.30pm today when a reluctant Rupert and James Murdoch will appear before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee, to be followed at 3.30pm by their ex-CEO Rebekah Brooks.

Mind you, there’s pretty stiff, somewhat apposite, choices on the other channels should you so prefer: BBC2 has The Weakest Link at 3pm, and Channel 4 airs Carry on Dick at 1.25.

This 1974 “classic” is notable not only for the last acting appearances of Sid James, Barbara Windsor and Hattie Jacques in the Carry On series, but for a bonkers plot that sees King George found the Bow Street Runners in a desperate attempt to crack down on crime, and to apprehend the notorious highwayman “Big” Dick Turpin.

Despite using “all manner of tricks” to catch other criminals, the hapless Bow Street chief Sir Roger Daley, and his officers Captain Desmond Fancey and Sgt Jock Strapp are run rings round by Turpin, time and again.

If you rename the saga Carry on Wapping and transport the characters to today, would the plot seem any more surreal? Sir Roger and Captain Fancey have fallen on their swords, and Dick Turpin looks like he is being finally brought to book, but...

To be serious, this is a historic day. Could any of us imagine two short weeks ago when the Milly Dowler hacking news broke that it would result in quite so much carnage so soon?

Today we will see the world’s most powerful media baron, his son and long-presumed heir, and their most trusted ex-lieutenant brought before our MPs. Are those MPs up to the challenge? Or will the Murdochs run rings around them? Will Rupert remember his recent crash media and legal training and not say something outrageous off the cuff? Can James rise above his propensity to business jargon and appear at all sympathetic? Will Rebekah’s insecurity and hatred of public speaking stymie her attempts to improve on her previous, poor committee appearance?

Be it on BBC Parliament or Sky News, a nation will tune in with bated breath to discover just who is “The Weakest Link”.