Matthew Norman: And now on ITV1, the utterly creepy Adam's family
Monday 01 February 2010
As the erstwhile FA boss who imported Sven-Goran Eriksson, Adam Crozier will savour the parallels between his appointment as ITV chief executive and that of Sven's successor.
For this is surely the Steve McClaren of television hirings... the case of a man hurriedly hired as the easiest option, by his old chum, Archie Norman, at a time of crisis. But however tempting it is to write the obituary to his ITV career today, it would be folly to underestimate him.
He may have left the FA with few admirers, and may now be leaving the Royal Mail with fewer still. Yet where he perhaps knew little about football and the postal service, his knowledge of telly is capacious. He watches a great deal of ITV's output, he tells us, citing his affection for Upstairs Downstairs. What a cunning, sure-footed reference this was, to a show dropped by ITV as recently as 1975, but about to be revived (and this is the special cleverness) by the BBC. An engagingly unctuous fellow with the face of less wry Peter Mandelson and the speaking voice of Stephen Hendry, Adam will be putting his creative weight into some high-profile revivals of his own. Here he could do worse than pay homage to Sir Archie's background with Asda, where the chairman worked with Adam's Royal Mail appointer Allan Leighton – it may not count for much as a commercial network any more, but as an old boy's network ITV rocks! – and bring back Supermarket Sweep. A game show made for thruppence with production values borrowed from the Albanian state broadcaster in 1979, in which the avaricious charge around an ITV studio filling their boots with ITV goodies while others work for minimum wage on the checkout, has a zeitgeisty feel at the minute. Anyway, we wish Adam, Archie and above all the price of shares on which they may have some enticing options all the luck in the world.
If Adam decides against reviving the Sweep, he may want to look at Poirot. ITV appears to be jettisoning the show, and if so its admirers will be livid. Still, there is hope. If the precedents of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are a guide, Belgians tend not to be retired for long, and Hercule should be back in time to reach the French Open final in early June.
Last week, a depressed Liz Jones was mostly writing about the unique hideosity of the British male. Suitors are invited to apply via this column. Obviously I'll want a current photograph, so hold a newspaper up towards the camera as you pose.
Feature of the Week goes to The Sunday Times for "Blonde Women Born to be Warrior Princesses". John Harlow's fascinating account of how fair-haired females are more aggressive in pursuing ambitions was predicated on research done by one Aaron Sell at the University of California.
If there is a tiny flaw here (and I know it's a pedantic quibble), it's that Dr Sell insists that this was total fabrication, and that he's never done any research of any kind about blondes.
Quite rightly, the paper remains sceptical about this denial, and has denied his preposterous request to remove the article from the website, or amend it in any way.
Mention of heroic intransigence in the face of facts brings us to Melanie Phillips, who had a spectacular week on the plough-gamely-on-in-defiance-of-the-evidence front. At the time of writing, our pouting poster girl for the link between the MMR vaccine and autism hasn't blogged as to why the General Medical Council was guilty of stupidity, dishonesty and wickedness in its critique of Dr Andrew Wakefield. She has, however, explained why FO legal supremo Michael Wood misstated international law to the Chilcot inquiry.
As with MMR, Mad Mel's intuitive grasp of the subject dwarfs that of those who have spent decades in the field. It can't be long before she lacerates the GMC, although probably not in the Daily Mail, which tacitly accepts that it dropped a gigantic bollock in swinging so fervently behind Dr Wakefield's claims.
An even better week, meanwhile, for Jon Gaunt who won his legal battle to challenge Ofcom's ruling that he breached regulations in describing a council official as a "Nazi" (rapidly amended to "health Nazi" in a subtle if vain bid to pre-empt his sacking by TalkSport). Gaunty is now humming "Let's All Go Down The Strand (Have A Banana!)", and we look forward to his trip to the High Court, with new BF Shami Chakrabarti in tow, to pursue this inspiring struggle for human rights.
In a welcome breakthrough for our troubled provincial press, finally, Daily Mirror Exclusive of the Week goes to a local paper. The Evesham Journal wins for front page scoop "Village Nursery is Trashed by Thieves". "Callous thieves broke into and ransacked a village pre-school, stealing cash and even helping themselves to biscuits made by the youngsters," this begins. It's the "even" that clinched it for the finest local rag crime exclusive since the Nottingham Post, serving the country's alleged shooting capital, splashed with news of counterfeit potato crisps being sold in a pub.
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