Murdoch co-stars with Homer Simpson

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The Independent Online
FOR A man worth several billion pounds, who has the political clout of a medium-sized country and a global media empire, there was just one ambition left for Rupert Murdoch to fulfil until last week: membership of the world's most elite club.

In an episode to be aired on Mr Murdoch's BSkyB channel on 28 March, he joins the select band of celebrities who have played themselves on The Simpsons - including all the surviving Beatles, Professor Stephen Hawking, Bob Hope, and former president George Bush - and unexpectedly exposes himself as a man with a healthy line in self-deprecating humour.

Mr Murdoch makes his appearance when the star of the show, Homer Simpson, gatecrashes his executive box at the Superbowl. He introduces himself as "Rupert Murdoch, billionaire and tyrant".

The real Mr Murdoch, who provides the voice for his animated incarnation, claimed afterwards that he was nothing like the way he was represented on screen: "I totally exaggerated it. It was just a nice joke."

Since he has a big stake in the company that makes and broadcasts The Simpsons, describing him as a tyrant was obviously a gamble for the show's writers.