Matthew Norman's Media Diary

In the century-old history of screen images, it is hard to think of any single shot as shocking as the one on Thursday night when a limo door opened in east London and out she popped. I've been raiding the memory vaults for anything to compare with the astonishment provoked by Germaine Greer's arrival in the Big Brother house, and the best I can do is Jessica Lange's reaction when Dustin Hoffman tore off his wig and dropped his voice by 17 octaves at the end of Tootsie. Students of surreal broadcasting may posit the visit to Nelson Mandela's garden of Alan Titchmarsh, to install a water feature, as a closer analogy for the televisual mingling of Greer and John McCririck, whose feminist credentials may intrigue the professor when they get down to deconstructing the works of Andrea Dworkin in the hot tub. Bizarrely, it might have been even weirder. Sources at Endemol, the programme's makers, hint that Commons media select committee supremo Sir Gerald Kaufman was close to signing up a fortnight ago, only pulling out when he was offered the role of the Childcatcher in the Batley and Spen Am-Dram Society's forthcoming revival of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Even so, this is weird enough for most tastes, and I can barely wait for the torrent of wrathful "think pieces" on the death of modern culture in the Daily Mail (where have you gone, Mad Melanie Phillips? A lonely nation turns its eyes to you). As for Professor Greer, a lovable if tetchy eccentric, I can't help wistfully recalling the raven-haired stunna who took on and slew Norman Mailer at that fabled New York Town Hall feminism debate in 1971, the year after The Female Eunuch's publication, addressing the braggartly Neanderthal by the endearment "c***y". From Mailer to McCririck in 35 years. Who shall say that isn't progress?

* More worry, would you believe it, in the endlessly troubled life of Telegraph prophetess of doom Janet Daley. The latest disaster to strike Janet, who is still coming to terms with the power cuts during the 1973 miner's strike, is a burglary. Her daughter and son-in-law were done over, she relates, just before Christmas, returning to find not only a smashed door and the presents gone from under the tree, but "their cat cowering on the bed, amid the debris of emptied drawers; a terrified witness". And all this in "one of the leafiest of Hertfordshire towns". One expects traumatised pet witnesses in centres of urban deprivation, of course, but in the Home Counties... All we can do is join Janet in blaming "the confederacy of liberal opinion formers" for the outrage (yes, Polly Toynbee, and what's your alibi?). As for the cat, we would remind it of the new Feline Witness Protection Scheme, should the matter come to trial.

To the Radio Five Live reporter outside Big Ben last Wednesday at the start of the three-minute silence, who insisted that the catastrophe lay beyond the descriptive power of the English language: have you ever thought about trying another career? One that doesn't involve words?

* New subscribers to The Spectator are being sent a letter of confirmation. "I hope this is the start," this concludes, "of a long relationship. Yours sincerely, Kimberly Quinn". We've all heard the rumours about the list of names that may feature in your diary, Kimberly, but not every new reader, surely?

* A joy to hear Geoffrey Boycott share his thoughts on England's tour to South Africa on Radio Five. His little exchanges with female presenters, whom he invariably calls "love", are a particular delight (if only he could be in the Big Brother house with Professor Greer). Geoffrey's relationships with women haven't always been so mannerly, of course, what with that French conviction for beating his then girlfriend in a hotel room. Meanwhile, Stan Collymore remains in the wilderness, having been dropped by the same station as a football summariser - work offered to him, by the way, long after he whacked Ulrika in a Paris bar - for having sex in car parks. When it comes to personal morality, it seems that Radio Five is trapped in what Geoffrey knows as the corridor of uncertainty.

* Having touched last week on media figures missing from the New Year Honours, we come belatedly to the most scandalous omission of all. "Here is a man who had an operation on his heart only a few months ago," writes Mary Ann Sieghart in The Times, dismissing any notion that Mr Blair might have returned early from his hols, "and facing his most gruelling year ahead... Personally, I would prefer the man running our country to be energetic and healthy, rather than haggard and sleep-deprived." What exactly does a girl have to do to get a peerage round here?

* Finally, to another Blairite cheerleader writing in the New Labour house bulletin known as The Times. The reason Mr Blair declines to appear in a US-style live television election debate, explains Alastair Campbell, has nothing to do with him running scared, and everything to do with broadcasters "incapable of discussing and negotiating the detail without it all being made public". The way some people will leak everything to friendly hacks... the mystery is how one of Alastair's exquisite sensibilities lasted so long in such a dishonourable world.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map