There have always been broadcasters on the BBC whose limpet-like adherence to the corporation leads one to wonder whether they are in possession of some embarrassing secret about the top brass. Though long past their sell-by date, they return year after year with ever more lucrative contracts. Some once had some talent, others have never displayed any discernible ability other than the ability to flannel and look and sound convincing. Nowadays, ‘presenter’ or ‘broadcaster’ are accepted as jobs in their own right. Bruce Forsythe became an embarrassment in his final seasons of ‘Strictly’ and yet, it seemed, suggesting that it was time to go was akin to suggesting to the Queen that, yes, she’d had a good run, but now it really was time to stop. Which analogy leads me to suggest, that such people may indeed be describes as BBC Royalty.
Here are five examples of what I mean.
1 & 2 David Dimbleby and Jonathan Dimbleby
Descended from the well-respected Richard Dimbleby so the divine right is particularly strong. Have both the BBC Flagship panel question formats locked up between them. Both are insufferably pompous, over-loquacious, too fond of the sound of their own voice, smug, self-satisfied and make no effort to disguise their Conservative sympathies. Can be insufferably rude to any panellist who dares to represent left wing or socialist views and disdainful of the unwashed punters who ask the questions. After all, it would be much better if they asked all the questions wouldn’t it?
3. Hugh Edwards
The all-purpose presenter with the permanent sneer. Often ‘parachuted’ in to trouble spots as a live anchor where he steals the thunder and limelight of the poor hard-working hacks that work that territory day in and day out, do all the work and get all the stories but obviously don’t have enough gravitas to reflect the seriousness of the story. Also wheeled in to present the finals of televised music competitions. The early rounds are more than competently presented by specialists from Radio 3 who get swept aside on finals night. Of course Hugh knows all about music – he’s Welsh, isn’t he?
4. John Simpson
The BBC’s fearless World Affairs editor prowls the world ready, at a moment’s notice, to head towards the latest trouble spot. Mind you, his lardy figure usually appears just as the danger is receding and tension is dying down, probably because he made sure he had a jolly good dinner first. Since he appears to have no expertise or inside knowledge about any corner of the world, has become expert in pontificating with a stream of vague meaningless truisms that add not one jot to the actual news story.
5. John Inverdale
Despite the fact that we all know that the only sports commentators worth listening to are ex-practitioners, the BBC still persists with the out-dated concept of the all-sports commentator. Much as we may get misty-eyed and nostalgic about the likes of Alec Weeks and Barry Davies, we just don’t need them now that the standard of specialist commentators is so high. If Inverdale would just stick to Rugby where his un-reconstructed misogynist views are common currency, the world would be a better place. You would think after his boorish comments at last year’s Wimbledon, he would not be invited back, but of course as BBC royalty he can do no wrong. So here he is again at this year’s Wimbledon trotting out his inane vacuous comments, whilst the likes of Henman and Lloyd stand idly by. Madness!