Robert Hampton

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12th April 2009

That Mitchell on t’Web — Look!
Posted by at 11.42am | Television | No responses

“Sachsgate” is the scandal that refuses to die, with various opportunistic politicians now coming out of the woodwork to demand that Brand and Ross should personally pay the fine levied on the BBC by Ofcom. In today’s Observer, David Mitchell points out why this is a daft idea. His excellent article should be the last word on the subject. Sadly it won’t be.

29th October 2008

Tarnished Brand
Posted by at 9.43pm | In the News, Radio | No responses

It has its own sidebar on the BBC News site, and approximately one million pointless blog entries on MediaGuardian — the Brand/Ross “phone prank scandal” is officially big news. It’s even attracted a comment from Gordon Brown, who apparently has nothing more important to focus on. Everyone else seems to have weighed in, so here are my thoughts on the matter.

I quite like Russell Brand. I never listened to his Radio 2 show, but I’ve enjoyed much of the stuff he’s done on telly (Ponderland was a pleasant surprise, and he was one of the best guests to grace the panel of HIGNFY this year). This isn’t the first time he’s crossed the line, but I can’t imagine that the Daily Mail will get their wish and see him disappear into obscurity.

However, despite what the majority of Radio 1 listeners apparently think, I don’t think Brand and Ross’s antics were funny or clever. Yes, comedy should be all about challenging preconceptions and pushing boundaries, but this didn’t do that — it was just… well, stupid.

Has the BBC over-reacted in the face of a tabloid witch-hunt? Yes, but they did themselves no favours by hiding behind bland statements from anonymous spokesmen for days, while the corporation’s enemies were demanding blood. The BBC’s slowness to respond has allowed the tabloids to fuel the story with plenty of good old-fashioned hysteria.

Now its time to get a sense of proportion: at this moment Google News reports 4,115 articles about this kerfuffle. Meanwhile people are dying in wars, losing jobs, and having their civil liberties taken away — can we start reading about that on the front pages please?

21st January 2008

A Starr is Scorned

I don’t know why the Echo and others are disappointed with Ringo Starr’s comments on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.

I watched a sizeable chunk of the Capital of Culture television coverage; in his various monosyllabic interviews, Starr’s attitude seemed to me akin to that of someone anticipating a trip to his accountant to prepare a tax return. This trip was not a task to be enjoyed, but something he felt obliged to do for financial reasons (after all, his new album Liverpool 8 does trade on his roots ever-so-slightly).

He was the most disappointing part of the opening night for me (easily surpassed in talent and enthusiasm by The Wombats), so I’m not terribly surprised or upset by this latest development. What does mystify me is why the powers-that-be in Liverpool hyped him up over the many other Scouse artists who could have performed. Anyone from Gerry Marsden right up to Anthony Hannah (listen to his cover of Relax here) would have been preferable.