My heartfelt thanks this morning go to ITV who decided not to cover “The Funeral” but instead to continue with their normal scheduling, largely ignoring the event.
Daybreak, Lorraine and This Morning all featured interviews with commentators and friends of the former Prime Minster, and cut away to the scene at St Paul’s Cathedral every now and again. However, from 9.30 to 10.30 ITV was broadcasting The Jeremy Kyle Show, a controversial talkshow dedicated to sordid, embarrassing family dramas.
As the BBC showed David Dimbleby interviewing Conservative grandees and political veterans, and Sky News showed scenes from inside the cathedral, ITV broadcast a shouting match between two girls and a man who was trying to deny that he was their father.
And while grandees filed into St Paul’s and Lady Thatcher’s coffin was driven to the cathedral, a young woman told the studio audience that she was trying to work out who her real father was.
Then at 10.30 This Morning was hosted as usual by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby – neither known for their political acumen but with a nod to the main event they were both dressed demurely in black. As the coffin was taken into the cathedral, This Morning ran a feature on dangerous criminals – apparently ignoring the start of the funeral. They also interviewed the victim of an arson attack in a Leicester gay bar from October 2011 and then Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans joined Schofield and Willoughby on the show, discussing his own career. The pair also interviewed a writer who said that seeing his wife give birth gave him post-traumatic stress order, and interrogated him on his love life
However, the BBC and Sky News each set aside hours of programming dedicated to the service so there was plenty of opportunity for those who did want to watch and I personally think it is a little unfair for people to criticise ITV for giving people a choice to not watch if they didn’t want to.
And so we find ourselves at that time of year when our weekend TV entertainment is taken over once again by reality shows!
Now I must admit that I am a bit of a fan of Strictly Come Dancing [if I can ignore the bits where the geriatric Bruce Forsyth mumbles his way painfully through the bad script on his autocue while Tess Daly smiles through gritted teeth every time he touches her, or the fact that the new judge, Darcey Bussell, is possibly the most irritating woman in the history of television!]. What I like most about this show is the opportunity to see the professional dancers show us that Latin and Ballroom dancing is still an art form to be enjoyed.
On the other side we are then subjected to the X Factor which, for me, has surely passed its sell-by date? Last night saw the return of the live shows in the studio and once again I was underwhelmed by the so-called talent up on stage. I’m not sure precisely where any of these people come from but I am pretty confident that there are much better performers in the local pubs and clubs than the sorry few that make it to this stage of the competition. Perhaps it sounds different to the people in the studio but to us at home it can be rather embarrassingly awful to sit through.
I also wonder what the contestants themselves think will happen after their 15 minutes of fame? Previous winners have all but disappeared from the face of this earth with some maybe achieving a few column inches in various tabloid newspapers for wearing something awful or falling out of a nightclub – a lasting career in the music business? I seriously doubt it! We listen to Louis, Tulisa, Nicole and Gary banging on about finding someone “current” and “exciting” and we are then subjected to distinctly average covers of songs by the likes of Queen, Spandau Ballet and John Lennon? What’s that all about?
There is a glimmer of hope this evening however. Season 2 of Homeland starts on Channel4 at 9.00pm. If it is as gripping as Season 1 then we’re in for a treat!
The nation has a new hero in the shape of Mo Farah who, after capturing our hearts with his impressive performances at London2012, winning 2 gold medals in the 10,000m and 5,000m, has now become a father to two adorable twin girls called Aisha and Amani.
Mo is the UK’s finest ever distance runner – a far cry from his humble beginnings in Somalia, arriving in London from Mogadishu at the age of 8 and speaking very little English. He trained at St. Mary’s University College in Strawberry Hill, a place which played a huge part in my formative teenage years(!) but now lives in Portland, Oregon.
In the early days his passion was for football and his ambition was to play as a right winger for Arsenal – perhaps Arsene Wenger should consider adding him now to his decimated squad for this season – it would be quite something to see him doing “the Mobot” as a goal celebration at the Emirates!
Mo’s build up to Olympic glory started on 14 July 2012 when he was the first ever contestant (celebrity or otherwise) on ITV’s The Cube to win the top prize for his Foundation. Mo managed to not only reach the final game but also had seven lives left (he had lost two lives in his first game.) He won £250,000 only losing one more life in the final game.
During the games Farah said he wanted to win one gold for each unborn twin, adding: ‘If I only had one, the other would feel left out.’ and he has now vowed to engrave one of the twins’ names on each medal.
So, for the second time in weeks he has scored a glorious double and his trademark grin shows just what both these events mean to him.
Huge congratulations Mo – we salute you and wish you and your family all the best!