Monday, February 02, 2004


On Thursday, I visited BBC Television Centre. It was the day after Hutton's great work of fiction and the mood was like a fairy tale: grim.

And they let us in, the fools! We were there for tedious technical reasons, which unless you understand 100 megabyte wossnames, and I don't, will be completely lost on you. The place is a veritable rabbit warren*, and there are groups of new staff huddling in basements, surviving only only vending machine tea, after weeks of trying to find their desks following a quick trip to the toilet. Remember those lesbian gatecrashers on the six o'clock news? Their target was actually the previous day's one o'clock but it took them a day and a half to find the studio.

Just to show you the state the BBC's in these days, they wouldn't show us where the Blue Peter badges were stashed; nor would they let us crash the News 24 set chanting "Tony! Tony! Tony! Out! Out! Out!" and "Lord Hutton - do you take it in the arse?" in the finest footballing tradition. This wasn't out of taste and decency, it's just that they couldn't find anyone to shout "Tony! Tony! Tony! In! In! In!" by way of an opposing view.

Lunch was taken in the infamous BBC canteen, scene of the infamous throwing of a fish at Omar Sharif episode.

Friend: Good afternoon, star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, Omar Sharif. Welcome to the infamous BBC staff restaurant. What would be your pleasure?
Omar: I will have the fish. Serve it to me whilst I show these disinterested souls how to play bridge.
[five minutes later]
Friend: Et voila!
Omar: ...and hearts are trumps, whatever that means. What is this?
Friend: Er... your fish. You ordered it.
Omar: It is undercooked! Take it away!
Friend: mumblemumblemumble
[five minutes later]
Friend: There you go, mush.
Omar: ...and the rubber is mine! Gah! What is this! It is still undercooked! Are you trying to poison me? Take it away, and get me fresh sauce too.
Friend: Grrrrr.......
[five minutes later]
Friend: Oi! Tosspot! Your fish!
Omar: ...and that is why we call it the Picard Manouevre. What is this?
Friend. YOUR. bloody. FISH!
Omar: I do not want it. It is burned. Go and get me another.
[sound of fish hitting star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, Omar Sharif across the head. Hushed silence as delicate parsley sauce drips from his finely kept moustache and onto a hand containing far too many aces.]
Friend: I'll get me coat.

I had the fish in his honour.

Famous people were rather thin on the ground. Greg Dyke had mysteriously slipped out of the building for the day, and it was the Chuckle Brothers' day off, so there was no senior management to be seen. Not even a Konnie Huq. Newsreader John Humphries did wink at me in a rather suggestive manner whilst eating a banana, though. I think I might be in there.

* I originally typed "rabbi warren", which I think is far better.

The Colonel strikes back

An actual letter published in my local newspaper today. Nothing to do with me. Honest.

HOW right the Dorset Echo is in its editorial comment (January 27) about not being able to identify a teenager upon whom a court had imposed an antisocial behaviour order.

If I had my way, this thug and other villains would receive, without question, 20 lashes of the birch. If they continued to behave antisocially the punishment would increase. And, incidently, let the punishment be carried out in public. I feel sure crime would drop like a stone - put it to the test.

The Home Office must be blind to the facts regarding justice. Keep the `do gooders' at bay. I for one would take the law into my own hands, as the law stands now, if I were attacked in any shape or form.


They appear to have edited out the words "I am not mad" at the end.

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