Is Andrew Sachs a 'lovely old man'?
I have no idea. Though, he does seem to have come out of the Ross/Brand storm in a teacup rather well – pretty feisty, and hiding his more predictable and understandable grudges with some dignity.
But I do know that when I’m 78 the last thing I will want is my 20 something grand-daughter (pictured), with Gothic tendencies and some kind of acquaintance with an over-paid radio star, telling the world that I am “a lovely old man (woman, in my case) who has never harmed anyone in his life”.
If you ask me, that kind of infantilisation of the elderly, as if they were all somehow nice, gentle and wouldn’t hurt a fly, is even worse than the silly, misplaced jokes of Messrs Ross and Brand. Lets hope that Sachs, like the rest of us, has had some opportunity to harm someone in his life and is well prepared to win against these boys – with a life-time’s experience of personal conflict.
But why on earth the fuss? And why did Team GB (I mean Gordon Brown’s advisers) think it was worth him taking time off the credit crunch to rap the BBC over the knuckles on this one. I guess, it’s a bit like Oxbridge bashing. They think it goes down well with the gallery.
Surely this was just a bad error, a cock-up not a conspiracy. Stuff happens. Eyes go off the ball. It certainly didn’t need the Prime Minister to intervene – but it might have brought Mark Thompson back from his holiday a bit earlier.
And it might have been avoided altogether if the BBC hadn’t been pushed by the government into such rating populism (this was Jimmy Young’s Radio 2 for heaven’s sake!) that they decided to pay these silly blokes such vast amounts of money for hosting the programme. (But I bet a lot of us enjoyed Brand on George Bush!)
In the end, remember, only two Radio 2 listeners complained at the original broadcast. And my hunch is that Mr Sachs well knows how to protect his own interests – lovely old man or not.