Matthew Norman: Pugh, Pugh, Lyons, McGrew...

Diary

Such are the perils of the longish lead time that it may all have died down by now, with a few column inches cleared for such banalities as the recession and tomorrow’s minor political event in the States.

Yet while it remains a challenge to know where to start with the carefully cultivated mass lunacy concerning Messrs Ross, Brand and Sachs, and the latter’s granddaughter – whose distress becomes comprehensible only when we learn from the Mirror that, when not performing with Satanic Sluts, she moonlights as a £110 per hour dominatrix (Mistress Voluptua) – it’s probably safest to finish with a few general and aimless reflections.

First, judging by his limitlessly pusillanimous interview with John Humphrys on Friday morning, Michael Lyons is not only unsuited to chair the BBC’s trustees, but would be way out of his depth as ombudsman for the Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb Crazy Hour on BBC Radio Trumpton.

Second, while we have yet to confirm the rumour that Mark Thompson’s answer phone message is three times the length of Andrew Sachs’s, and begins: “Thank you for calling. Let me state in the most unequivocal terms that whatever you happen to be ringing about was utterly unacceptable, and the clearest breach …”, it would save him a lot of time and effort were he to put on video an all-purpose, non-specific mea culpa covering everything from the belated replacement of a faulty water cooler at Radio Lincoln to the failure of the news pips to win the Eurovision Song Contest with their a cappella version of Middle of the Road’s “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”.

And lastly, much as one admires Lesley Douglas for the quaintly Lord Carrington-esque sense of propriety that led her to offer her resignation as controller of Radio 2, the Apologist-General’s greedy acceptance of it was an act of courageous loyalty to a blameless colleague of a nature unwitnessed here since …well, I can’t recall any precedent even in newspapers. If any media historian is looking for a title for an account of how he continued the work so earnestly begun by Alastair Campbell and Lord Hutton, the suggestion is Lions Led By Lemmings.

Do it for charidee

As so often happens when the hunters of the tabloid pack don the pink to go after the Beeb, assuming the duties of Master of Hounds is dear old Kelvin MacKenzie. Kelvin has two distinct modes in this official role. On broadcast media, he’s the wry old stager offering reasonable and balanced criticisms, but when addressing readers of The Sun column in which he seldom shies away from genital mirth himself (in his latest, he cleverly renames Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant as The Fat Dick), he takes a less nuanced line.

On Thursday, after reprising his maidenly shock at some of Jonathan Ross’s earthier gags of old (just the two “disgustings” in the one item), he advised Mr Ross to put his money in the vicinity of his sorry mouth by donating £250,000 to Children In Need. I have no doubt this happened, but if anyone can provide particulars of Kelvin’s donation to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign after his own sincere, albeit subsequently retracted, apology for that minor editorial misjudgment, I’ll include it next week. Purely as an added incentive for Mr Ross to flourish the cheque book.

Littlejohn disjointed

No less offended are the exquisite sensibilities of Richard Littlejohn, who mines a richly contra-intuitive seam in the Daily Mail by using the incident as cause to demand the privatisation of the BBC. In a generally well-argued, we’re-mad-as-hell William Holden rant, I was confused by only this: “Ross’s astronomical salary shouldn’t be a factor,” he wrote, “but it has rightly become the factor.” An imaginary case of finest cooking sherry to the first professional logician who can help me out with that sentence.

Whose hubris?

Elsewhere in the Mail, David Jones files a curious piece headlined “Could Hubris Do For Obama?” from the candidate’s home city of, Chicago. David foxily argues that Obama’s vainglorious assumption that it’s in the bag might yet cost him the White House, seemingly unaware that never has any candidate anywhere been more paranoid about showing hubris than one who dwells at length in his rallies on the Democratic genius for screwing it up.

David quotes an unnamed TV reporter accusing Obama of “already measuring the [Oval Office] drapes”. If a reporter did indeed say this, might he or she have been quoting the line incessantly trotted out in recent stump speeches by a certain John McCain? Who can say?

In Brits we trust

On the op-ed page of The Sun are extracts from Gaunty’s Best of British: It’s Called Great Britain Not Rubbish Britain, and many thanks to Rebekah Wade for offering the choicest cuts from an opus on which I still haven’t lavished £18.99. Included in this saliva-inducing amuse bouche of Gaunty faves are not only the great British summer fete, pork scratchings, saucy seaside postcards, queuing (“What is it with us Brits and queuing?”), HP Sauce, marmalade and the NHS (no direct comparison with the French system, but we take the point).

Also making the cut is tolerance.

All hail the Brand-bot

Returning to Russell Brand, finally, Andrew Pierce has a novel career suggestion in The Daily Telegraph. “Mind you, Brand is so repulsive,” writes Andrew, having dismissed internet chatter about Mr Brand becoming the new Doctor Who, a show he |tells us he has come to love anew, “that with his straggly mop |of hair and silly sing-song voice, he could play a cyberman. And he wouldn’t need make-up.”

What, to pass himself off as a stainless-steel robot? A touch of silver blusher, surely?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine