Magazine article The Spectator

What Tosh

Magazine article The Spectator

What Tosh

Article excerpt

Occasionally, the Radio Times reaches heights of absurdity in its gushing praise of broadcasters, but it excelled itself last week with its report on the 40 most 'powerful' people on the radio. In what was really a brazen puff for the BBC, a PR job, the magazine asked 'experts' - the people who run radio and appear on it for their 'favourite and most influential broadcasters'. Top of the list was Jonathan Ross for his awful Saturday morning show on Radio Two; Terry Wogan was second and John Humphrys third. Fourth was someone called Christian O'Connell of the independent London rock music station Xfm and Radio Five Live.

So what on earth does the RT mean by 'powerful'? It doesn't know, of course, because the term is meaningless and the magazine doesn't attempt to define it. The whole exercise was largely to promote broadcasters - all but four at the BBC and provide a front-cover story for radio, as the RT is normally obsessed with television. I always find RT covers disconcerting as its photographs of people make them look like waxwork dummies at Madame Tussaud's. Perhaps in real life they do indeed resemble such objects, but they can't all do so. No doubt there's a technical explanation for this, which only a photographer could provide, as one assumes the snapper has no malice aforethought.

Ross is one of those ghastly dumbing-down freaks the entertainment industry throws up every so often; Chris Evans and Graham Norton are others. It's a telling indication of how this government has used the Honours system for some cheap popularity that he's been made an OBE. On his show the following Saturday, he admitted he'd once declared that he would turn down such an Honour if offered it, but his family had wanted him to accept it so he graciously agreed. This didn't prevent him sneering at the royal family, even though the Queen wouldn't have had anything to do with his OBE. With a bit of luck, she won't even have heard of him. Yes, he had mixed feelings about the royals, he opined, and had thought some of them were 'useless people', but otherwise he felt sorry for them. His explanation for this was simple: 'Posh people are always weird, aren't they?' I dare say that, despite his great wealth from the licence-fee payer, 'posh people' feel sorry for him. …

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