Thursday, 7 June 2012

The View of the Master

One shouldn't break into a run in order to jump on a passing bandwagon, though in the case of the BBC one would normally make an exception. But the fact is, I don't need to; I have original material.

On Sunday, the Lady Idle's mother entertained 70 of her best friends to luncheon in her wonderful sixth-floor flat on the Thames, looking from its wide balcony deck across the water to the Hurlingham Club. With the massed ranks of row-boats for the river pageant approaching from Putney Bridge and skulling towards Wandsworth Bridge, a finer view in all England would be hard to imagine. If only the sun had shone! Nevertheless, it was utterly splendid. The Mother-in-Law had come to terms with the bitter disappointment of discovering that Her Majesty would board downstream at Cadogan Pier, and with the weather forecast in mind had prepared her drawing room for an INDOOR party. Idle himself stood ready with twenty gallons of Pimm's and an acceptable Cape Chenin Blanc; he knew where the gin bottle was, to enhance Commander Idle's Pimm's with more spirit, if necessary.

Anyway, we watched the rowers, the Dunkirk boats, the leisurecraft, the longboats and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of this glorious and unrepeatable fleet come by. Mercifully, the rain stayed off for our deck-bound spectating and we repaired inside for lunch and to watch the progression of the fleet on a large telly.

It was at this stage that Idle found himself in conversation with the first and great man of BBC outside broadcasts, Peter Dimmock CBE CVO. Peter it was, who after covering himself in glory as an RAF pilot and instructor in WW2, joined the BBC, one of many 'can-do' types who revolutionised Auntie in the post war years, in all the right directions. This is the man who was responsible for broadcasting Her Majesty's Coronation in 1953 and the first televised Grand National in 1960. He started Sports Personality of the Year in 1956, Sportsview in time for live coverage of Banister's 4-minute mile and also Grandstand, presenting the first shows himself before handing over to David Coleman. He is, to use the Highland terminology, a horse's cock of a man, and I am proud to know him.

We watched and listened in horror as the BBC's pretty imbeciles made the most dreadful hash of it all. I turned to Peter and asked him if he felt that they had somewhat misjudged the occasion. "Utterly", the great man replied. "If there was ever an event where pictures speak louder than words, this is it. Anything else one would wish to add should be informative, delivered by experts. The link-man should be authoritative, respectful and of good spirits, but unseen. It's not about the BBC people, it's about the Queen". This quote may not be word-for-word, but an honest representation.

This is the man who employed Harry Carpenter, Henry Longhurst, Dan Maskell, Bill Maclaren and all of the other brilliant commentators who survived at least twenty five years in their jobs and won thousands of plaudits and barely a criticism. One thing they didn't do was witter inanely.

At 92, sharp as a tack, Peter has forgotten more than the current overpaid meeja generation at the BBC have ever discovered.

He knows.


Nick Drew said...

it really was breathtaking, n'est-ce pas ?

my favourites:

(1) "Her Royal Highness, The Queen"

(2) "HMS Belfast, 91,000 tons" (repeated so as to compound the effect)

idle said...

"The hat Nelson wore at Waterloo"

Bill Quango MP said...

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 this morning, the station's former controller Mark Damazer, defended the Corporation, saying it had attempted to be 'informal… inclusive and warm' and 'probably tried too hard'.

..yet somehow not hard enough.

idle said...

Informal = Careless
Inclusive = Diversity-obsessed
Warm = Infantile

Elby the Beserk said...

Peter Dimock! Still with us. Bless him. Another reminder of the golden age of the BBC.

It's one thing putting out such poor quality broadcasting. Quite another defending it. It was like pumped up breakfast television. What mindset there imagined that the viewer would be interested in the views of various non-celebrities, God only knows. Never mind that of the various republicans they just HAD to interview. We know what they think. We don't need the BBC to tell us again.

Unadulterated shite.

Elby the Beserk said...

"Idle himself stood ready with twenty gallons of Pimm's and an acceptable Cape Chenin Blanc; he knew where the gin bottle was, to enhance Commander Idle's Pimm's with more spirit, if necessary."

Excellent. My parents rarely left the house without their "first aid kit", an early version of a cooling bag, containing a bottle of Gordon's and a bottle of Dry Martini. The precautionary principle in action.

Thud said...

20 certainly have a thirst. As for the beeb, did you realy expect better? all involved in the flotilla and the concert are either dense or not so secret haters of the occasion and all involved.

Electro-Kevin said...

Ah... but Cheryl Cole made up for it all.

Puzzled expat said...

In these foreign parts, the latest BBC ad for its own programmes (of course; what else?) consists of one of their correspondents (not sure off the top of my head whether it is Marr or Witchell)commentating on a film of a royal procession.

"This is Garter Day....a perfect example of the Windsor's trick of reinventing tradition".

Whatever can he mean?

Electro-Kevin said...

A brilliant post. Worthy of a second visit and worth reading out loud to my family. I don't suppose the magnitude of it sunk in the first time I read it.

I'm sorry to have brought Cheryl (as she is now known) over here to soil this page. Alas she did appear center stage by Royal (Dis)Appointment for us to see in full glory - a convicted criminal here as well as the one on the Royal barge; the odds being that the one on the barge could sing with auto-pitch too if given the chance.

The fact is that there has been a coup in Britain. This was signalled in the Blair years by Brian May playing a screaming guitar solo atop Buck House. I can't ever imagine The Queen, nor her husband, enjoying that in the slightest.

The most senior Royals were held to ransom over Diana. They were forced by Blair into a pact with Rock & Pop culture and told to modernise.

I now recognise that the Queen has been a force for good and held back republican forces as best she could but I wish she'd stood against the EU and I wish she'd clapped more for the drenched members of the Royal College of Music Choir who embodied everything that Cheryl isn't.

The BBC has long gone the same way as Royalty, especially after Alaistair Campbell's manhandling of them. The recent Have I Got News For You with AC presenting it is worth 28 minutes of anyone's time and can be found on YouTube. It seems like BBC revenge to me.

Alas there is no going back. The recent TV adaptation of Just William seemed to encapsulate it all beautifully when William's brother returned home in new biker gear and a put-on sulk,

"Remind me. Just what is it that you're rebelling against ?"

Asks his mother.

Rubber-doll-face McCartney and Old Mother Elton are - to borrow and rearrange your phrase - HUGE cocks of men. They've certainly proved to be useful *tools* in the cause of 'progressiveness' and the collective sulk which threw off those 'forces of conservatism.'

It was quite clear to me - from their performances - that they think The Queen is beneath them.

The very last thing this even was about was Her Majesty. It was a calendar event which had to be covered and it was done with some measure of reluctance, embarassment, resentment and a huge degree of opportunistic self-promotion.

lilith said...

"The very last thing this event was about was Her Majesty. It was a calendar event which had to be covered and it was done with some measure of reluctance, embarrassment, resentment and a huge degree of opportunistic self-promotion."
How very true.

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