After Chris Evans quit BBC Top Gear following the end of the last series of the show, some media watchers might have thought that the Murdoch doggies at the Sun, who had run a series of obsessive knocking pieces dredging up anything they could find from Evans’ past - as well as making up the rest - would have left him alone. But that thought would have been misplaced, as back they have come today.
As if editor Tony Gallagher - one has to assume that he, or someone in the Baby Shard bunker, is actually in control of the rag and able to call the shots on what is allowed onto its pages - has not got enough on his plate with the Channel 4 Islamophobia row right now, today’s front page relegated its headline covering the Munich shootings to a glorified footnote so that readers could have another Evans attack served up.
This one is particularly creepy, suggesting that the Sun is having the presenter tailed by a snapper: “Picture Exclusive … 4pm at side of M4 swigging brandy & weeing in bushes … CRISIS EVANS”. The copy is all one would expect, or maybe dread: “TOP Gear flop Chris Evans fuels fears he’s on the brink of a meltdown as he swigs booze and urinates at the side of a busy motorway … The presenter was spotted in full view of drivers on the M4 near Heathrow as he knocked back posh Remy Martin cognac straight from the bottle”.
What’s “posh” about Remy Martin? Seriously? Gallagher and his overpaid pals don’t do much fraternising with the lower orders, do they? You can buy the stuff down the pub. You can buy a bottle of it at Asda. It can’t be sodding posh. But enough of showing what a bunch of amateur human beings work on the Sun - what’s Evans actually done wrong?
He wasn’t driving the vehicle that stopped on the hard shoulder of the M4, and the only offence he could be done for is one of public decency - and then only if the Sun’s snapper is prepared to go to court and explain what they were doing putting a tail on Evans on the off-chance that he might provide them with some free copy.
It’s not going to happen, is it, Murdoch poodles? But we do get “an onlooker”, which means it could be the snapper, or just someone who happened to be in the newsroom when the story was being dreamed up, telling “He looked like he was in very high spirits … His mate went for a wee first and Chris was joking around on the hard shoulder next to the car … He was bending over and looked as though he was ogling his mate’s willy for a laugh … Then Chris joined him and it looked like they were comparing sizes or something”. Meaning the snapper was too far away to hear what was being said.
Moderately well-known bloke and his pal get their driver to pull over and let then take a pee break in heavy afternoon traffic No Shock Horror. It’s not news, there is no public interest defence in publishing, it’s creepy and obsessive, and were Evans to object, the Sun would have to lean very hard on IPSO not to get their knuckles rapped (again).
If Chris Evans has a serious problem, the Sun and its hacks have a yet worse one.