By the time you read this, you may well have heard the announcement of my appointment as the new Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors.
If so, I put it down entirely to the list of reforms which I put to the interviewing board at my audition, and which, I flatter myself, were refreshingly unlike the broad wishy-washy vision statements offered by the other candidates for the position.
For the record, here is a transcript of the address I made to the board.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please pay attention, as I am about to list all the reforms I shall put into effect as soon as you appoint me, and, unlike Radio 4, I have no intention of repeating it in the near future.
"If and when I am made Chairman of the Board of Governors I shall immediately ensure the following:
"1. That product placement be installed at all levels of programme-making. By this I mean that wherever it is possible to screw money out of manufacturers, we shall do so. Why should footballers be the only ones to have shirts with hideous logos advertising earth-movers and computers? I see Jeremy Paxman with 'Apple' written on his lapel. I see David Attenborough moving fearlessly among a crowd of baboons, wearing a shirt emblazoned 'Odoritas'. I foresee a Radio programme called, not Just a Minute but 'Just an Accurist Minute'. The possibilities are endless..
"2. That Anti-Product Placement be installed at all levels. This concept, which is an invention of mine, will allow manufacturers to pay to have rival products shown in a bad light. So, for instance, Pepsi-Cola might wish to pay good money to have a nice character in a play drink Pepsi-Cola, but they may also wish to pay better money to have the baddy drink Coca-Cola, and I think they would also wish to pay very good money to have the nice character take a sip of Coke – and spit it out in disgust!
"3. That the word 'paradigm' never be used on the BBC again, nor 'outreach', 'resonance', empowerment', and many others.
"4. That Libby Purves be restrained from asking all her guests on Midweek whether they too, like the first guest, have had an out-of-body experience or been stabbed to death or whatever this week's Midweek ordeal is.
"5. That no music ever again be played behind any news broadcast and that no radio producer ever be allowed to play accordion music for a French programme, brass band music for a north of England programme, etc.
"6. That the BBC give up their pretence that stand-up comedians have opinions worth hearing on talk shows.
"7. That whoever devised the slogan for BBC Friday night comedy, 'Staying In is the New Going Out!' be searched out and shot.
"8. That Anne Robinson be made to try to answer quiz questions in a new TV programme called 'Boot on the Other Foot', which will also feature John Humphrys being mercilessly grilled, Sean Rafferty being fawned over, Nigel Rees being asked to think up something original, etc, etc.
"9. That all the Larry Sanders Shows be run again at a decent hour.
"10. That the Radio Times never again be allowed to use the phrase 'another chance to see...'
"11. That Mark Lawson, on Radio 4's Front Row, be ordered to pause at the end of sentences and not, as at present, in the middle, saying things like 'this exhibition opens tomorrow at the British... Museum', or 'Professor John Sutherland has read the book and he joins... me now'.
"12. That Alastair Fothergill be entreated not to find an unexplored frontier of natural history, eg Behind The Wardrobe or Down Between Our Toes, and not to explore it in a major series.
"13. That Michael Portillo be immediately hired to do a daytime Spanish cooking programme and then move on to bigger and better things.
"14. That, as most of the impressions on Dead Ringers are pretty good, actors be trained who can also do a decent imitation of characters from The Archers, Martin Jarvis and Alastair Cooke, who at present seem to defy imitation.
"15. That Ainsley Harriott shut up.
"16. That John Birt be featured in a major new series about finding work for the unemployable."
I had much more in the same vein but was interrupted by the interview board at that point who said they had heard quite enough to be convinced of my qualities. I retired to wait for my moment of glory.Reuse content