David Parkin on knickers down at the BBC, what reminds him of Love Island and the trouble with Gary Lineker

THERE used to be a programme on TV called Auntie’s Bloomers.

The format was pretty straightforward: broadcasting legend Sir Terry Wogan presenting bloopers from BBC programmes.

It was easy to see how it originated.

Some bright spark in Television Centre had realised that all the daft out-takes from shows on the Beeb were being hoovered up by ITV for its Denis Norden-fronted It’ll Be Alright On The Night.

So they put them altogether and made their own version.

One of my friends, who works for BBC regional TV, was on it once.

Earnestly addressing the camera, he reported about a significant local news story and took several takes to do it.

As he finally completed a perfect delivery to camera, a motorist drove by and sounded their horn.

My BBC reporting friend went barmy and unleashed a few expletives at the errant driver as he headed off down the road.

Of course the BBC bleeped them out.

And my pal ensured his five minutes of fame with a prime clip on Auntie’s Bloomers.

It got him plenty of attention – and an invitation to officially open the carnival in the village where he lives.

Not just that.

The local delicatessen even named a cake after him.

I popped in to buy one in celebration.

But given he’s not called Battenberg or Fondant Fancy, I think they must have sold out.

Now the reason I even mention all this is not just to fill space, but because Auntie’s Bloomers came to mind given all the talk about the BBC over the last couple of weeks.

There has been the news that BBC director general Tony Hall is stepping down, then debate over the licence fee and whether it should be a criminal offence not to pay it.

On top of that the BBC has announced it is to cut 450 jobs in a bid to make £80m of savings.

And that, it seems, prompted Sarah Sands, the editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, to announce her departure.

She’s no Rod Liddle, but she’ll be missed.

And the BBC dutifully reported all this in a balanced way.

But it felt a bit too balanced.

It struck me that it wasn’t so much Auntie’s Bloomers as Auntie Gets Her Knickers in a Twist.

There is nothing more uncomfortable than watching the BBC reporting on itself.

A hand-wringing reporter bending over backwards to try and deliver a balanced report about the organisation that is their employer.

You wonder if once they leave Huw Edwards in the studio they go off into a broom cupboard to self flagellate.

It is all a bit serious for me.

I’d settle for a light spanking.

But that’s me.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot that winds me up about the BBC.

The false chumminess of the presenters and clunky links between features on The One Show.

The money thrown at presenters whose only perceptible talent is to showcase their limitations on a weekly basis like Gary Lineker, Tess Daly and Stacey Dooley.

And the seemingly relentless pursuit of a younger audience which means lots of “Seven things we learned today…” type articles on the BBC website and shows including MOTDx.

What’s MOTDx you ask?

A dumbed down version of Match of the Day featuring football pundit Jermaine Jenas with a bomber jacket and “street” accent.

I know, how could Match of the Day ever be dumbed down further?

Here’s a tip to improve it: turn the sound down in between the match highlights.

You might get the impression I have a downer on the BBC.

A bit like a sibling,it can sometimes frustrate the hell out of me, but there is an awful lot I love about it.

I love waking up to the Today programme.

I love Desert Island Discs (well anything before Lauren Laverne took over).

I love the Serious Jockin slot on Steve Wright’s BBC Radio 2 show on a Friday afternoon.

Although that probably opens me up to a bit of Serious Mockin (no g).

I love the Football Gossip page on the BBC Sport website which rounds up the daily transfer stories in newspapers and on websites.

I love I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue – Jack Dee’s introduction about its host towns and cities and the in jokes from comedy legends like Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden.

But what I really love is that I believe what the BBC tells me.

Yes, it sometimes does it in a bit of a preachy way, but every BBC journalist I know reports in an impartial way.

I don’t often shout at the television or radio because I get annoyed at the approach that the Beeb has taken on a story.

There is a bloke that lives near Wetherby that does stand in fields wearing a Make America Great Again baseball cap shouting at passing geese and shaking his fist at BBC bias.

But that’s not me.

I love the fact that I can read stories on the BBC website or listen to the TV or radio news and I trust what I’m listening to.

I hate the fact that the BBC, in its haste to deal with criticism about the licence fee, is chopping 450 jobs.

Because these are journalists who contribute to the website and to national and regional news programmes.

I could earmark where they could save a chunk of the £80m savings.

Let’s start with Gary Lineker.

The personality-free presenter of Match of The Day.

In all the time he has worked at the BBC he has proved two things: that he can read an autocue and deliver pre-written “witty” comments while talking to his golf partners – who double as expert pundits.

If we binned off Lineker, Alan Shearer, Ian Wright, Jermaine Jenas,  then that would take a chunk out of the cuts the Beeb needs to achieve.

And while we’re at it if you cut a few of the glossy dance numbers from Strictly (or even the whole of the painful Halloween special) then that would knock a few noughts off the budget cuts.

In fact Gary Lineker, in a bid to underline his intelligence credentials, recently gave an interview to The Guardian and suggested that the BBC licence fee should become a voluntary charge.

Asked how this might work, the man who is paid £1.75m a year by the BBC, said he didn’t know the “logistics”.

Perhaps he hasn’t reached the stage where he realises that if you voice an opinion then you might be asked to justify it.

It was a bit like him going to collect his pay cheque and then instead of thanking his employer, kicking them in the nuts.

While he keeps his cosy role in the Match of the Day studio, there are hundreds of staff at the BBC who will lose their jobs in the coming months and years.

And I’d argue that every one of them makes a greater contribution.

If there is one thing I don’t begrudge paying, it is my BBC licence fee.

For all that frustrates me about the UK’s public service broadcaster, there is much more that I love and appreciate.

So strip me of Netflix, Sky, Amazon Prime, Spotify and the rest.

If I ever was a guest on Desert Island Discs I know what my luxury on that faraway atoll would be.

A radio that only plays the BBC.


MYSTIC Meg I ain’t, but sometimes you can see into the future and just know what is going to happen.

Last month, in a blog about plans to improve Leeds Bradford Airport, I said: “My one concern is that Leeds City Council, which will be making the decision on these plans, isn’t hijacked by the climate change lobby.”

Lo and behold, just a couple of weeks later, protesters opposing the expansion plans staged a “die-in” at a Leeds City Council meeting, forcing it to be suspended.

Once discussion on the airport expansion began, several members of the audience began coughing loudly before some took turns to speak out on environmental issues.

One began “Does Leeds City Council know that we have an emergency?

“Urgent and unprecedented actions are needed.”

Three people then fell to the floor, before lying still for a number of minutes before the meeting was suspended for 20 minutes while security guards were called to remove the protesters.

I’m sure Leeds city councillors are much more dynamic, but I’ve attended local council meetings in the past where you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between the protesters and the committee members.


THERE are plenty of free “lifestyle” magazines these days that you can pick up in shops, restaurants and hotel lobbies.

What they all have in common is that they remind me of a Love Island contestant.

Glossy on the outside but very little of interest behind the exterior.

One free publication I can recommend is the new issue of Y magazine from Welcome to Yorkshire.

Of course, I would say that wouldn’t I, because it features an article by me.

The magazine, which is not just distributed in Yorkshire, but across the UK and worldwide, showcases the places and people that make the county such an attraction for visitors.

As one person who doesn’t live in Yorkshire said to me about Y magazine: “It makes me want to visit Yorkshire.”

Which means it has done its job.

The magazine has a 12 month shelf life, which is a skill in itself.

In fact I know that these Y magazines go on much longer than that.

People still mention an article I wrote about Yorkshire gin in the magazine three years ago.

The feature I’ve written in the latest edition is about the successful stage show Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Inspired the true story of a teenage boy who dreams of becoming a drag queen, Sheffield Theatres created a successful musical which has not just gone on to the West End stage but has been made into a star-studded Hollywood film which premieres later this year.

It will follow in the footsteps of The Full Monty and Calendar Girls, which also told quirky, funny Yorkshire-based stories.

I enjoyed my trip to Sheffield to interview Dan Bates, the chief executive of Sheffield Theatres.

He is one of those unusual people you meet in the arts world that manages to balance creativity with commercial reality.

Pick up a copy of Y magazine at tourism destinations in Yorkshire or you can read it online by clicking here 


YOU may have noticed that the format in which this blog is delivered has changed slightly.

We are asking readers to click from the email or Linkedin to read it on our COPA Group website.

That allows us to better understand the analytics and traffic.

And given the content is free, it does give us a chance to highlight the work that we do.

I asked for any feedback in last week’s blog email.

One reader said he didn’t like the new format and when it was explained why we had changed things, he responded curtly that he did not want to click through to read it.

“CBA,” he said.

That, apparently, is short for: “Can’t be arsed.”

So not only can he not be arsed to click through to read the blog, he can’t be arsed to write can’t be arsed.

I’d tell him what I think of him, but….

Have a great weekend.

5 thoughts on “David Parkin on knickers down at the BBC, what reminds him of Love Island and the trouble with Gary Lineker”

  1. The BBC, donj’a love ’em. Woke doesn’t come into it! Mystified viewers in the provinces watch a version of the world we live in that we don’t recognise. I agree with you about the Today programme but even that has become rather hectoring. And don’t get me on about the sneering Laura Kuenessberg on the TV, she appears incapable of reporting anything positive on the political stories of the day without lacing her report with negative caveats.
    But I agree with you David, the licence fee is worth every penny, just for the great bits. However, it is unlikely that the TV licence van will come floating by your desert island, so you should get away without paying!

  2. Keep on writing David. Gives me a chuckle every Friday afternoon, reminds me of life in Yorkshire, and reinforces, through your stories of people, that nothing really changes!! And the BBC is great, but agree about overpriced stars contributing nothing to enhance some programmes!!

  3. Wow David, I would love to see you interview Gazza Linekar and ask him to justify his worth! I would pay to see it and maybe you could set up a fundraising page too and give the proceeds to all the great people who are being made redundant. I think the TV licence is worth every penny and would consider paying more, but certainly not if it means greedy Gazza would use it as an opportunity to ask for a payrise.

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