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.


  1. It's like asking 18 year old Premiership footballers, rich beyond their wildest dreams, to be role models for the young, when they are totally divorced from reality.

    TV has always been just another conduit for the Smoke and Mirrors gang and sure it does have it's good points, but, ultimately they're still selling Snake Oil to the masses.

  2. He opened bloody batting for Barnsley, tha knows, wi Geoffrey Boycott, and Jade bloody Goody never did that, did she?

  3. Parkinson is a bore, a hypocrite, a curmudgeon and a man of self-obsession that borders on the psychotic. While I've enjoyed many an opinion about Jade Goody, I give not a tinker's titty what he thinks of her.

    Footnote: The word verification is Sterness, which is one 'n' short of summing up this reply.

  4. Well said, Mr Hepworth, sir. The entry level for fame in the 60`s was maybe not as blatantly low as it is in the 00`s, but it was certainly as blindly ambitious.

    If this was the golden age of Parky, he would have had J.G on many times. Hell, he found a lot of time for that other, suddenly less celebrated, racist, Peter Kay.

    It seems very churlish for old Parkkeeper to shoot fish in a barrel when he wasn`t in line for a gun. Has the old bugger got a book imminent?

  5. Quite. Seems to be a bit of a smoke screen around Parky's head. The sort of person who thinks luck played no part in their own success. To describe her as representing all that's paltry and wretched about Britain today is just er paltry and wretched.

  6. Not sure why he's been picked as a columnist for the Radio Times - he's got nothing of worth to say whatsoever, at least not to non-RT readers who probaly wholeheartedly agree with him. He's not even on the telly anymore. He's a pompous old windbag.

  7. Interesting point and one I hadn't made the connection on. Parky has little discernible talent other than being at ease in front of the cameras and having a personality that people like to watch on TV. I could have written the same thing about Jade Goody. And I bet she wouldn't have been quite so mean about Parky (unless, perhaps, in the unreal environment of the Big Brother house).

  8. Know a great story about Parky , apparently....(snip Dave's lawyers snip,snip,snip)....900 grand.

  9. Hang about. Blunt though Parkinson is (and believe me, I'm not much of a fan these days) he has a point. It's a shame that anyone dies before their time, but Jade Goody wasn't a wonderful human being/saint in human form just because she put her affairs in order before she died. Five seconds before she was diagnosed with cancer, the same papers and magazines whipping up this outpouring of grief wouldn't mention her name unless it was accompanied by the words "disgraced" and "racist".
    Neither standpoint has any balance, but the current engineered mood has far more to do with editors shifting papers than the fact of whether Jade Goody was a good human being or not. And her appearance on our television screens during her life did not advance us as a race one jot.
    I'm glad someone is swimming against the tide, albeit in a reactionary and clumsy fashion.

    As a postscipt, the cover from Monday's Sun read:

    Cover of Tuesday's Sun:
    Jack's wish at grave visit
    (accompanied by papped shots of relatives grieving 'privately').