Matthew Norman's: Media Diary

Kelvin would never stoop so low

In one of those perpetual outbreaks of synthetic moral outrage that remind us why the newspaper industry must never be permitted to atrophy entirely, the fury over Jonathan Ross's idiosyncratic chat with David Cameron has been a joy to behold.

I cannot decide whether Mr Ross's inquiry as to whether the pubescent Cameron used a mental image of Mrs Thatcher as a masturbatory aid constituted a high point in the BBC's drive to help reenergise an apathetic electorate. But the knowledge that a broadcaster on some £4m per annum and his production team had a long debate before concluding that it should go out on air is a relief. Someone has to fight a rearguard for Reithian values.

Others take a different line, and it's a special delight to find the Daily Mail, whose mannerly editor Paul Dacre is fabled for the delicacy of his language, getting in such a bate about the word "wank". Even crosser, meanwhile, was my old friend Kelvin MacKenzie. As befits one of our more influential Islamic scholars (you will recall last week's teachings on Sharia law), he was apoplectic in his Sun column, describing the question as "disgusting".

What most upset him was that it was asked of a powerless figure who, unlike the PM, couldn't ring Tessa Jowell the minute he left the studio to order her to cancel the BBC licence fee forthwith.

Perhaps he has a point about media figures picking on people their own size ... people such as Heather Mills McCartney, about whose shortage in the leg department Kelvin is so regularly hilarious. Only last week he made a gag about Sir Paul going down on one knee to Heather, the hilarity here being that he did so not to propose marriage; but, what with her having only the one knee herself, to engage in sexual activity. Now that's the kind of wholesome family merriment we look for from our media titans, and I hope Mr Ross has learnt something from this heartfelt rebuke.

LEST MR ROSS failed to produce enough onanistic mirth to sate the BBC, Frank Skinner chipped in his 10cc-worth on Radio 5 Live on Friday morning, with a banjo-accompanied ditty about the World Cup game-staging town of Gelsenkirchen. Exhausting every conceivable rhyme in the En-glish tongue for that Ruhr town, Mr Skinner's pièce de résistance was to imagine himself being forcibly penetrated by a gherkin ... an erotic fantasy that put him to thinking, so he sang, about jerkin'.

Next week on Songs of Praise, Michael Aspel investigates the the practise of felching with the Archbishop of York.

KIRSTY YOUNG'S appointment as Desert Island Discs presenter consititutes the biggest betting upset, according to industry insiders, since Norton's Coin won the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup at 100-1. In fact Ms Young's victory was the more startling (she never figured in the betting at all), begging the obvious question of how she came from nowhere to get her nose in front on the line. Talented broadcaster though she is, the best I can come up with is that Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer was so nervy of offending the myriad BBC staff who fancied the job that he decided the safest escape route was to look beyond the corporation entirely, and so keep the internecine bitching to a minimum.

THE 'DAILY TELEGRAPH' seems worryingly befuddled about cannabis. In a leader in September 2003, it was all for legalisation, citing both practical and moral grounds in support. Last week, it demanded its immediate reclassification as a Class B drug, urging the government to create as many extra prison places as that would necessitate. Flexibility is a valuable thing in a leader column, of course, but this level of confusion must be very draining for a paper as eager as the others to savage politicians for U-turns.

Perhaps the appointment of a new editor to release caretaker John Bryant for loftier managerial projects would resolve this crisis of confidence. The sooner the readers know where they stand, the better for everyone.

HATS OFF to Huw Edwards, one of the BBC's top ranked performers in the discipline of reading out loud, on branching out. Huw cropped up in Doctor Who, cast wilfully against type as a newscaster. I won't dwell on his performance when required to sound astonished at the sudden disappearance of the entire crowd at the 2012 Olympics, let alone suggest that he doesn't give up the night job.

But I trust it's clear to all Huw fans that apart from reading the script, he also wrote it, produced and directed the entire episode, designed the set, coached David Tennant and Billie Piper, and took K-9 for a long walk on Clapham Common. That's the thing about Huw, as he is always too bashful to point out. There's so much more to the man than reading an autocue.

FINALLY, OFF comes the titfer again, this time to the Torquemada of Today, Jim Naughtie. Commenting to Jack Straw that "You rightly say that transparency was introduced when you came to power," was his most ferociously independent remark since referring to the government as "we" before the last general election.

He's right. New Labour's commitment to open government has been one of its crowning jewels, as its desperation to hold a public inquiry into last July's bombings makes plain. Contemplating Jim's ministerial interview technique, I was about to use a crudely alliterative two-word phrase, the first of which is mutual. But we've had enough masturbation for the one week.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Marketing Account Manager / Client Liaison Manager

£25 - 32k DOE: Guru Careers: A digital-savvy Marketing Account Manager / Clien...

Business Development Manager / Sales Executive

£23-30k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking bright Business Developmen...

Senior Developer/Development Lead - C# ASP.NET. SQL

Circa £55,000: Ashdown Group: Lead Developer requirement - C#, ASP.NET, SQL - ...

DFA Ad Operations Manager

38,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: My client is an agency that handles the me...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain