The problem with Peston

IS IT just me that continuously fails to appreciate the ‘talents’ of BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston? The bloke’s floppy hair and tortured diction make him impossible to both watch and listen to.

He received a lot of stick for interviewing George Osborne and others without a tie on the recent trip to China. It wasn’t the lack of a tie that annoyed me so much as the fact he had his shirt unbuttoned to the waist. OK, you’ve got a hairy chest. Put it away!

Those talents have been noticed by ITV and Peston is on the brink of signing a deal to become their new Political Editor. For a left-wing son of a Labour peer, who in 2012 said he had a psychological problem with people who want more money than they can spend, the move to ITV can only mean a shift up the salary scale. Rumours of a £750,000 offer are said to be wide of the mark, but insiders claim ITV had been forced to double the £200,000 offer they initially put on the table. All he needs now is a hair cut and elocution lessons.

Nice work if you can get it but I for one won’t leaping out of bed on a Sunday to catch the chat show bearing his name that was apparently the deal clincher.

STAYING with Auntie, the BBC has become embroiled in an alleged £10,000 betting scandal involving the winner of the Great British Bake Off. I don’t give a toss who wins, I just want the whole soggy bottomed show to come to an end.

Ladbrokes have accused BBC employees of placing a string of bets on the winner. The bookmakers have launched an investigation amid fears that those ‘in the know’ are cashing in on their insider knowledge. A spokesman for Ladbrokes said: “Pretty much all the betting accounts set up punted on one baker. They clearly know something we don’t”.

And just when you thought you’d seen the back of that jumped-up pastry chef Paul Hollywood, up he pops again on BBC2’s Licence to Thrill. On the programme he gets paid to drive a series of Aston Martin sports cars. Why? What is it about ‘people who have been on the telly a bit ’ that they get paid to do some amazing things us mere mortals can only dream of? Did anyone catch the Channel 5 series Extreme Railways? In it the ‘has-been’ that is Chris Tarrant gets to explore some of the oldest and most scenic railway journeys. The PR blurb for the series says ‘Over a series of adventures, Chris finds himself stuck in the heart of the African jungle, crossing the Australian Outback and exploring the coast of India’.

That’s right, Chris Tarrant is being paid to go on a series of adventures across the world. Basically he just sits on a train and chats with his fellow passengers. Michael Portillo he is not. Bring back Great British Railway Journeys and let Chris Tarrant pay for his own holidays in future please.

IN AN age when it has become a crime to cause offence, things have been taken a step too far this week. That great British institution, the bacon sarnie, has been banned from the workplace and you’re not allowed to put your sausage roll in the microwave anymore either.

According to someone at Goldsmiths University whose job title is Professor of Faith and Public Policy (I kid you not) consumption of pork-related products at work could seriously upset non-Christian colleagues – not to mention vegetarians. I thought things on the ‘causing offence’ front couldn’t get any more bonkers than last week when an RAF sergeant was kicked out of a hospital waiting room for wearing his uniform and a student’s union banned sombreros on the grounds they were a racist insult to Mexicans.

Apparently companies must now take account of the religious sensibilities of everyone from Muslims and Jews to Buddhists, Sikhs and Scientologists. I’m fine with that but lay off my pork pies.

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Kevan Blackadder

Written by Kevan Blackadder

Kevan Blackadder is a media consultant who runs Blackadder Media Limited. Kevan was previously editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and assistant editor of the Bristol Post. A Cumbrian who moved to the South West “for a couple of years” in the 1980s, he can’t quite believe he’s been there ever since.

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