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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It's only TV, Parky.

Michael Parkinson: "Jade Goody has her own place in the history of television and, while it’s significant, it’s nothing to be proud of. Her death is as sad as the death of any young person, but it’s not the passing of a martyr or a saint or, God help us, Princess Di. When we clear the media smoke screen from around her death, what we’re left with is a woman who came to represent all that’s paltry and wretched about Britain today. She was brought up on a sink estate, as a child came to know drugs and crime, was barely educated, ignorant and puerile. Then she was projected to celebrity by Big Brother and became a media chattel to be exploited till the day she died.”

Max Clifford rides to her defence: “What Michael forgets to mention is that Jade already has saved countless lives of young women through her battle with cervical cancer. And she has provided the best possible education for her boys and stressed the importance of that.”

What neither the prosecution nor the defence can bring themselves to mention is the fact that Jade Goody was just a TV star. TV stars tend not to be a noble breed. Like all TV stars her fame was, by the standards of the wider world, undeserved. She was as fortunate as the next bozo who woke up to find they were the kind of person the camera happened to like. Along with her producers she arrived at a shorthand version of her actual personality and milked it for all it was worth. Pretty much like Michael Parkinson - a man who has spent forty years in the public eye playing upon his "roots" as if they were a banjo and as far as I can recall not doing or saying much that's been surprising or remarkable - has done. I don't mean that in a bitchy way. It's that very dullness and puppyish willingness to slavishly go along with the expectations of the audience that makes for long careers in TV. You'd have thought he would have known that and kept his counsel.