Matthew Norman's Media Diary

Gaunty, the Bard's No 1 shock jock

It is with a sense of excitement not easily translated into words that we announce the imminent publication of the most eagerly awaited memoir of the year. The memoir of Jon Gaunt, my favourite columnist in The Sun ("the thinking man's Simon Heffer" is his new strapline) and a TalkSport presenter, is out on 4 October courtesy of Virgin Books.

At this stage the details are scant, but we do know that the title, which Michael Heseltine and other leading dyslexics will greet as an exquisite pun, is Undaunted (subtitled "The True Story Behind the Popular Shock-Jock"). The cover features Gaunty staring fixedly into the lens, lips firmly compressed to denote a summa cum laude graduate of Real Life University (formerly the Polytechnic of Hard Knocks) who, although well-meaning at heart, will give you a hell of a beating if you look at him the wrong way.

The hardback, meanwhile, runs to an impressive 256 pages. Security at Virgin Books has been so tight that all attempts to steal a copy have failed. However, one of those 256 pages has been sent to me anonymously, and I quote verbatim. "This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself against infection and the hand of war, this happy breed of men..." I'm so sorry, it seems I've been had. That's John of Gaunt, as sampled by Shakespeare in Richard II. Still, we can anticipate much rousing jingoism on similarly lyrical lines – "this home of scumsucking hoodies; this repository for the filthy dregs of humanity; this puke-making hidey-hole for politically correct gone mad bleeding heart liberals like Shami Chakrabarti" – when Gaunty's magnum opus hits the bookshops next month.

Tremendous, meanwhile, to see Gaunty's TalkSport colleague James Whale crop up as a paper reviewer on Sky News, mildly displeased about the new statue in Parliament Square, and thoughtfully reminding us that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist. Now that the old girl's a little off the pace, it's vital that there are those selflessly prepared to remind us of the 1980 Margaret Thatcher and her more thoughtful reflections on world affairs.

It's long been rumoured that those in and around Premier League football tend towards the oversensitive, but with no direct experience of such effeteness I never believed it myself. Not until now. An unseemly spat has broken out in The Times's football supplement between the comic and actor Alan Davies and Martin Samuel, chief media supporter of Chelsea's Frank Lampard Jnr (Frank W Lampard, as he's known down the Bridge). Martin is such a brilliant writer on sport and other matters that we'll overlook this one lapse in taste and simply report the catalyst of the unpleasantness; an article in which he posited that Arsenal fan Alan once referred to Frank in that same supplement as a "fat cockney twat".

In responding with a tough, no-nonsense counterstrike, Alan excels himself. He never called Frank that, he writes, as he once tried to reassure the habitual badge-kisser in person, although Alan does admit to some harmless joshing. What is so entrancingly holistic here is that Alan is umbraged enough by the accusation to spend some thousand words teasing Frank for taking umbrage. Alan is as friendly, relaxed and charming a fellow as showbiz knows, with the one arguable exception of Christopher Ecclestone, and I invite the anecdotes and observations of anyone eager to bring his delights to a wider audience.

A rousing hats-off to BBC1 for its new habit of referring to itself, with a dignity befitting the state broadcaster, as "Channel of the Year". The relevant award, announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival, might more accurately be styled "Terrestrial Channel of the Year", BBC1 having defeated all four rivals, including Channel 4, which had such a splendid 12 months. It was decided a few weeks ago, on the very evening that details of the falsified trailer for the Queen documentary emerged, and the next morning controller Peter Fincham was grovelling for his life. Even so, when Her Maj realises she's dealing with the Terrestrial Channel of the Year, I suspect she'll back down sharply.

On current form, BBC1 looks a dead cert to defend that prestigious title in Edinburgh next year. The new comedy Outnumbered might even swing it on its own. What a joy this is, with Hugh Dennis as the history-teacher father of precocious children who offer unspeakably witty comments on current events. A particular gem was Mr Dennis referring to his advice to an overweight Turkish boy, eating crisps in class, that he could do with Ramadan every day purely to lose weight, and seeming startled that the child's father then accused him of racism. The ribcage repair kit, Matron, without a moment's delay. As for BBC2's comedic output, I'm much enjoying The Best of Tittybangbang, the most optimistically titled programme since 1994's Montreux winner Improve Your Mind the Martyn Lewis Way.

A rebuke, finally, to the idiot who has exposed former Daily Mirror deputy editor Des Kelly to undeserved scorn by giving him a Wikipedia entry about twice the length of Churchill's (turn to my colleague Stephen Glover for more on the subject of journalists and their Wikipedia entries). The malevolent prankster taunting Des has even included a section of quotes (including one abusing Frank Lampard; I begin to suspect Alan Davies) of the sort more commonly included in entries for statesmen and world-renowned playwrights than for Daily Mail sports columnists. It isn't clever, it isn't funny, and if it isn't removed within a fortnight a witch-hunt will ensue.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Guru Careers: Print Project Manager

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Print Project Manager is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk