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Sunday 13 February 2011

Not OK For This TV Show

As the Guardian’s Nick Davies put it in his excellent book Flat Earth News, “dog doesn’t eat dog”. So it has been no surprise to see much of the Fourth Estate turning a blind eye to Phonehackgate. And, even though the Desmond press has “gone rogue” and effectively ejected itself from the overview of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), their latest mishap has not been widely reported.

Fortunately, the Guardian has once again picked up the story: the re-launch of Channel 5, which takes place tomorrow, is to have an early evening programme spun off from Richard “Dirty” Desmond’s relentlessly downmarket OK! Magazine. And pencilled in for co-presenter was the ubiquitous Denise van Outen. Until, that is, she was treated to a morning with Dirty Des.

Part of the Empire that did not Strike Back

Last Thursday, van Outen accompanied Desmond on a tour of his empire. There was less than a total meeting of minds: the encounter “did not go well”. Such was the reaction of his new presenter to the Desmond charisma that by the following morning, van Outen had decided not to accept the gig. Fortunately, she had not signed a contract, and was therefore able to walk away from the job.

Benchmark of Excellence, anyone?

One can only imagine why van Outen, who had reportedly been “looking forward to doing the show up until that point”, went from a state of enthusiasm to one of rejection in such a short time. But this development will surprise no-one.

[UPDATE: Today (Monday 14 February) the Express is running a suitably shameless advertorial as one of its top stories titled "Channel 5: Kate And Matt's Fun Factor On OK! TV". Sad to say, there was no room for Dirty Des' finest to even mention Denise van Outen, so I'm more than happy to mention her right here. And, of course, we know that the appearance of this plug in the Express is mere coincidence, as Desmond does not interfere in his papers' editorial policy. He said so in court. On oath]

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