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Sunday 20 February 2011

Unhappy With Jamie’s Jodrell

The legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre’s obedient hackery hates the BBC. But sometimes there isn’t sufficient Beeb bashing material around. What to do? The favoured solution to that problem is to kick Channel 4 instead: after all, it is a public sector outfit, even if it does run adverts.

So it is no surprise to see the Mail laying into C4 over Jamie Oliver’s new show, Jamie’s Dream School, which tries to enthuse teenagers who have fallen through the education net into giving learning another chance. Those roped in to be teachers included Alastair Campbell (who blogged about the experience HERE) and historian David Starkey, who reflected on the exercise HERE.

Both those accounts make for fascinating reading, and so it’s probably no coincidence that Dacre’s finest looked elsewhere when searching for their customary faux outrage. Their chosen target, Robert Winston, is a Labour peer, so he is clearly A Very Bad Person. Moreover, he devised science classes designed to engage his new pupils, which must come over as suspiciously progressive to the Mail hacks.

But it’s when those hacks spew out their outrage that the hatchet job becomes unintentionally hilarious. Winston got two of the male pupils to leave the classroom and return with samples of their sperm, as part of a biology lesson. Written consent had been given by parents, and the boys were happy with the idea.

The Mail, deploying a straight bat, commented “A Channel 4 source insisted viewers would not see the samples being collected”.

Thus ended my taking this piece seriously.

The Mail even secured this gem from a spokesman for Mediawatch UK: “From our point of view it’s condoning a form of behaviour in a classroom situation”.

It would not surprise me if Jamie Oliver, having seen this guff, were to characterise the Dacre hackery as a bunch of ... you figure it out. I believe Kenneth Williams used to use the term “Barclays”.

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