Saturday, November 24, 2012

The King-Maker

[Why Tony Hall was always going to become the BBC’s director general] 

Eric Stadlen, our tutor, was adamant. 

“Vun of you vill be director-general,” he told us in his deep, thick Austrian accent.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bah Humbuggery!

Oh no – Izzy has found out about Hanukkah gifts. 

As my daughter is half-Jewish, we couldn’t really expect to keep it from her. But, seriously: 8 nights of presents? Whereas Santa’s flying visit happens just once a year, the Jewish equivalent takes eight whole evenings, on each of which a child is supposed to receive a little gift. Izzy can’t wait.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The BBC: Turning A Crisis Into A Catastrophe

[The director-general of the BBC, George Entwistle, has resigned after a chaotic 54 days.]

Poor George. Such a charming, gentle man. 

I met him a few times, when he was head of Current Affairs at the BBC and I was pitching a television series about how to improve the rate of prisoner reoffending. What I proposed was so radical and dangerous (I wanted to move young prisoners to a “half-way house”, set them up in business, then film how they got on) that I doubted he would consider it. 

George heard the pitch, then said, in quiet, measured tones: “It’s exactly the sort of series the BBC should be doing right now”.

Tomato Blush

I'm most grateful to Mary Yeoman for offering this simple solution to my heirloom/heritage tomato problem (see previous post).  

She wrote: Put them in a brown paper bag with a few banana skins and one or two ripe bananas and I can assure you they will ripen in a few days.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Don't Quit While You're Behind

Some say the secret of true success is to quit while you’re behind. Sadly it’s not something I’m very good at. 

Take my tomato plants, for example.