Preparing myself for returning to England, I tune into the Today Programme on Radio 4, only to catch the normally sensible James Naughtie start an item with “unless you’ve been living on Mars, you will know that…” And what was this event of momentous import of which filled the conversations in every pub, fish and chip shop and tearoom in England, nay, on Earth? Well for those of us on Mars, we have for the last [insert period of time here – after 5 minutes I’ve given up trying to find out when this happened], for some not inconsiderable length of time, we have been blissfully unaware that, wait for it…Jonathan Ross has left the BBC!!!!!
“Who?” or rather “Kuka?” I hear you shout. Well Mr. Ross was the highest paid employee of the BBC being paid enough annually to build at five hospitals and a couple of schools — all from the £142.50 licence fee which is paid by every British household that uses a TV set (except if they hide behind the curtains when the inspector comes round). Ross is a man of a number of talents (remember, zero is technically a number) who had a chat show on BBC1 on Friday nights and hosted a radio programme on BBC Radio 2. He made headlines last year after he left an offensive message on Fawlty Tower’s star Andrew Sax’s answerphone as part of a witty and hilarious jape on his radio show.
Well I am not going to comment on whether it is a good or a bad thing that the BBC will now have several millions (£16.9 or €18.8 to be exact) extra to spend on say Doctor Who special effects rather than maintain the lifestyle of one “personality” who is about as entertaining as watching a puppy urinate on your living room carpet (makes you smile involutarily for a moment before feeling really pissed off). But I do at least now realise why I’ve not felt worried about missing the news from England.
When I came to Helsinki, I started out listening to Radio Four daily but gradually wearied of the diet of politicians’ minor misdemeanours combined with wacky policy announcements, which everyone knows will never be enacted but are rather being market-tested as potential manifesto fillers for a party that has little hope of being re-elected. OK, so the YLE news programme is perhaps over-serious, but at least it mainly covers items of, well news.
All the same, for any Finn who wants to feel self-satisfied there’s plenty of stories on the BBC website on how Great Britain is falling to pieces after a little light snow.
And for my British readers, this is what a snow plough looks like.