Friday, May 04, 2007

Benecol drink and cup of tea

IT'S nice to know that the BBC still have an abort button whereby they can cut someone off instantly when they think they have gone too far. I recall it originally came about when a cheeky young lady appeared on the Radio One Roadshow and was accosted by that most annoying of all DJs Dave Lee Travis. "So is there anyone you would like to send out a message to?" asked the absurdly nicknamed Hairy Cornflake.
"Yeh, I'd like to say hello to Mike Hunt," replied the girl. Say it quickly and you get the picture.

I reckon that same button is now being used to cut people off when they become too boring. People like TV and radio's Matt Withers, for instance.
The poor old Wonderful One was roped into giving his expert political opinion on the Beeb's Election special this week. "Not just in Wales," he boasted egotistically, "now I'm going national." Something not be missed, I thought.
Then I discovered the time of this monumental moment in British TV history - Five in the morning.
Yep, 5 bloody AM.
Still, when you know it is going to be such a never-to-be-forgotten piece of television you watch it, don't you? Just like many of us stayed up to see that famous night 10 years ago when Michael Portillo and Chris Patten were booted out of parliament unceremoniously. Or when England took on Brazil in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Withers assured me he was going to stay up all night to do his research, monitoring the goings-on as Wales elected its new Assembly (whoopee do!). I, on the other hand, chose to go to sleep early then rose just before the big event, knocked back a Benecol yoghurt drink and returned to the bedroom with a cup of tea.
In the safe hands of David Dimbleby the election was in full flow. Politicians from every party were sat around the table discussing the Conservative gains, Labour losses and Lib-Dems doing absolutely b*gger all.
First the Beeb toddled off to Scotland to get the news on the ins and outs at Holyrood, then the bloke in charge of the new fangled computer graphics had his go, explaining to us exactly what it meant. He even did a little dance to 50 cent's In-Da-Club as he described how Menzies Campbell's Libs had performed. Very entertaining.
Finally, the moment arrived. At around 5.25 Dimbleby handed over to Wales where a presenter eagerly welcomed the United Kingdom's massive audience from a scenic office overlooking the Assembly building in Cardiff Bay. Panning back, we got our first sight of the wonderful Withers, leaning casually against a rail, like a prima ballerina about to practice her pas de bourree at the barre.
His introduction done, Withers began to speak with great authority about how Doddery Rhodri, the Wales first minister, might now decide to call it a day in the wake of bleh, bleh, bleh... Building up a head of steam Withers continued in his learned, authoritative way ...
Then blam!
Diddly squat.
Just a big blank red screen and a high-pitched humming sound. National debut over, done, down the pan. Don't call us etc etc.
Back to Dimbleby in the studio and his hand seemed to be resting suspiciously under the rim of his desk. Is there a Dimbleby panic button, I pondered? You know, something he presses when the boredom factor reaches critical levels?
Or was Withers' arch nemesis, the mystery political blogger Arsembly, sneaking around in the background with a pair of garden shears? I guess we will never know.
Withers reaction? "Bah!"
I imagine we now have to revert to calling him "Writer and Broadcaster Matt Withers". Or Bozo for short.

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