SUE Barker has confessed she had to be crow-barred out of the presenter’s seat of A Question of Sport and admitted she would not have gone voluntarily.
Hardly surprising; she earns a fistful of BBC dollars for a show that’s recorded in three-a-day chunks and done, dusted and canned in double-quick time.
It’s not a programme that has ever attracted me as a viewer, possibly because on the rare occasions I’ve seen it, team captains Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson had me reaching for the off button.
They, too, will be axed as the Beeb recruits fresher faces to attract a younger audience, the Holy Grail of TV.
Except, producers continually fail to accept that, while A Question of Sport is on air, that elusive viewing audience have phones in their hands and are gawping at videos of their choosing on YouTube, Tik Tok or Facebook.
Many moons ago, when my employer Grampian Television churned out around eight hours of local output every week – much more than was required under their ITV franchise – a shiny new head of programmes arrived on the scene with a determination to make his mark.
During a meeting to discuss a forthcoming outside broadcast covering the Woolwich Scottish Masters bowls tournament – a remedy for insomnia for many – he urged the show’s director to “get plenty of shots of attractive young women among the spectators”.
I explained that the audience at the event, in Aberdeen’s Westburn Park, would largely be made up of men discussing their latest Sun Life insurance policy and with a need to visit the toilet every half-hour, and women in twin sets and pearls concerned that a stiff breeze might have an adverse impact on their blue rinse, just done that morning in the hope of being captured on camera.
I’m sure I heard a “Swoosh” as my comments went over the programme controller’s head.
The transmission of the programmes in the 10.35pm slot brought decent viewing figures back then.
But it was anathema for the 18-34 years age group so coveted by TV executives.
Where are all the cyclists going?
With Aberdeen City Council’s plans for a greener town and therefore any number of cycling lanes to allow you to travel without danger from A to B, dice with death from B to C before coming across another safe passage, my stabilisers have been looked out, though I will draw the line at lycra.
But the new bike routes, to encourage a more healthy mode of transport, perhaps fail to consider the low number of Beryl Burtons, the remarkable Yorkshire woman whose cycling records beat those of the men, and Chris Hoys who take to the roads.
And where are those cyclists going?
The shops, the office, the pub, or a restaurant?
We must assume those who’re on their bike for several miles en route for work, for example, have showering facilities and a change of clothing at their destination.
You wouldn’t want to share an office with a sweaty beast in thigh-hugging shorts and one of those funny hats, would you?
Breathtaking at Pittodrie
I wonder how the 300 Dons fans coped with wearing a mask for their near three-hour outing at a pie and Bovril-free Pittodrie at the weekend.
Did they sound like a collection of Darth Vaders?
Or simply heavy breathers – the kind you see on the end of a phone line in movie thrillers?