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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Sauce Recruitment: Programme Sales Executive - Independent Distributor

£25000 - £28000 per annum + circa 28K + 20% bonus opportunity: Sauce Recruitme...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Are you an ambitious, money mot...

Guru Careers: Investment Writer / Stock Picker

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A freelance Investment Writer / Stock Picker ...

Guru Careers: PPC Account Executive / Paid Search Executive

£20 - 24K + Benefits: Guru Careers: An enthusiastic PPC Account / Paid Search ...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us