Sunday, December 11, 2011

You'll Never Guess What's On You Tube!

So, dear blog reader, to bring the only story that the media in this country seem to be in the slightest bit interested in at the moment up to date, it goes something like this. Top Gear presenter, resident pisser-off of Gruniad readers and hate figure to the Bill Oddie fan club, Jeremy Clarkson goes on the The ONE Show and tells a - not particularly good, by his standards - joke concerning BBC impartiality which, because of Clarkson being Clarkson and also because of the quite sinister and sick agenda of a variety of people both within and outside of the media, gets turned into something that it wasn't intended to be. Queue a vast outpouring of public outrage and hand-wringing - mostly feigned - and all sorts of people who had nothing whatsoever to do with it, from the prime minister and the leader of the opposition to Joan Bakewell fer Christ's sake, making their mouths go and getting themselves in the newspapers as well. The Daily Scum Mail found itself in a horrifyingly unusual position of only being able to criticise Clarkson (and, by default, the BBC) if it also supported the rights of public service union strikers not to be shot. Which, obviously, for the Daily Scum Mail is almost like something out of Sophie's Choice. Three thousand people complained to the BBC in the immediate aftermath of The ONE Show appearance. Followed by another twenty seven thousand (approx) a few days later after the papers - and particularly the Gruniad Morning Star - have stirred the shit up a bit. Clarkson, wisely, naffs off to China (and then, later, Australia) to do some filming for Top Gear and get out of the way whilst the Gruniad Morning Star run eight - eight! - stories with him shoehorned into them over the course of just two days. At this point, things start to get really bizarre. The BBC - because,when faced with bullies, often find that they have the collective backbone of a jellyfish - suddenly realise that a few days later an episode of Qi (recorded several months previously) is due to be broadcast featuring yer man Jezza. Wishing to avoid giving any more fuel to anybody's already burning fire, they hastily - and rather clumsily - announce that they've withdrawn it, temporarily, and replaced it with a repeat of an earlier episode. Which, of course, immediately irks all Qi fans (and there's a couple to three million of those, at least) who fail to see why their favourite programme should be punished for something that's nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, however, but very amusingly, the change comes so late that the extended episode of Qi XL was still uploaded - one presumes, by accident - onto the BBC iPlayer early on Sunday morning, a few hours after it should have been shown (but wasn't) on BBC2. It was quickly removed from there, of course, but enough people had their wits about them to make a copy and, now it's up on You Tube for all the world to see, in three chunks, the first of which, should you want to dear blog reader, you can find here. Ah, don't you love being alive in the Twenty First Century?
And, inevitably, as anybody with half-a-brain could have predicted, it's a very good episode featuring nothing in the least bit controversial and with Clarkson doing his usual job when he's on Qi of being a reasonably affable and vaguely amusing raconteur. Dara O Briain, Ross Noble and Alan Davies are also on fine form. So, there you go. Like they always used to say about 'Relax' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood when the BBC refused to play it, 'they tried to ban it, they tried to burn it, but it keeps sticking out!' The episode will, I've been assured by the BBC, be shown 'probably early in the New Year.' But, if you can't wait till then, now you know what to do.
The other very amusing thing about all this is that, having done more than anybody else to keep this story in the headlines for the last week and a half, when it was announced that the Qi episode was to be postponed, the Gruniad gets yet another story out of it by running a poll on their website on whether their readers felt it was necessary for the BBC to postpone the Qi episode or, you know, not. As the blogger writes, the poll is still open for another seven hours, but the latest figures are, those who feel the BBC should have 'put on ice' (the Gruniad's own phrase, not mine) the Qi episode, 31.8 per cent of those who expressed an opinion. Those who didn't feel the BBC needed to do this, or anything even remotely like it, despite the Gruniad having never ceased to shut up about the damn story for the last ten days, 68.2 per cent.
The public, it would seem, have spoken.