Robert Hampton

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20th March 2013

A cheerful post

Sorry for the delay in posting this next retro-blog. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I have been rather busy.

Over the ten years that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve always been a bit hesitant to talk much about big news stories. I’ve always believed that this isn’t the reason people come here, so I refrain from commenting unless I have something useful to say. That may be why my reaction to the Boxing Day Tsunami is just nine words.

Natural disasters seem to crop up quite a bit, with Hurricane Katrina and the New Zealand Quake both getting a mention.

Disaster of a different kind struck London on 7th July 2005. As a railway enthusiast and regular commuter, it struck a chord with me:

Tonight I was on the evening rush hour train out of Liverpool Central towards Hunts Cross. It’s a busy train and is always standing room only. As we barrelled through the tunnel towards Brunswick, I realised that if someone on board was to detonate a bomb, there would be carnage, and escaping from the tunnel would be difficult.

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13th November 2012

Bloody Brilliant Correspondents

There’s been a lot said about the BBC in recent days. I’m not going to try to say much about the botched Newsnight stories. There is already far too much noise over the issue, with the BBC’s critics using it as a political football. While Tory MPs, egged on by the Murdoch press, queue up to call for the dismantling of the corporation, they forget completely about the victims of the sexual abuse who should be the focus of the story.

I’ll just leave you with a couple of audio/video clips to mull over. First, listen to this relentless interrogation of George Entwistle by John Humphrys over the affair.

Compare that interview with the deference this Fox News host shows to Rupert Murdoch over the phone-hacking scandal:

Now, which organisation is demonstrating more accountability and responsibility?

There will be much more fallout from this scandal, but… Continuing to trust the BBC as my main source of news? No worries Mr Chairman, that’s fine with me.

29th October 2011

Savile Row (6, column 4 in the cemetery)
Posted by at 6.19pm | Television, Trains | 1 response

Jimmy Savile (IT HAS ONE L YOU FOOLS) has died. Here is a Jimmy Savile-related moment from my life.

I once wrote to Jim’ll Fix It. I can’t remember exactly when, but it must have been towards the end of the show’s run when it was being flung out in graveyard slots.

My request was, in retrospect, quite unambitious. I didn’t want to have tea on a roller coaster or appear in a specially-written Doctor Who mini-episode. No, I just wanted to ride in the cab of a train.

Not an exciting train like an HST or Flying Scotsman, mind, but a common or garden class 507. I did go so far as to specify the journey I wanted: Southport to Liverpool – presumably worried that the BBC would try to penny pinch and send me to Kirkby.

I think what I really wanted was a drivers-eye view of the Link tunnel, an ambition I later (sort of) realised by purchasing a Merseyrail cab ride video. The video was disappointing as the tunnel section was just 10 minutes of pitch darkness and loud echoey rumbling noises (with a caption “Paradise Junction” helpfully superimposed over the blackness at one point).

Where was I? Oh yes – I misspelled the word “often” on my letter, and I remember Mum told me to leave it uncorrected as it would make me look like a sweet innocent child, rather than the obnoxious smart-arse I already was by the age of seven. Bless.

I never got on Jim’ll Fix It, which was probably a good thing, as appearing on national television with the nation’s favourite slightly odd uncle character would surely have added to my already bulging package of childhood neuroses.