Monday, 22 October 2012

Lady Sybil snuffs it . . .

And so the whole Jimmy Savile scandal rolls on. The man is dead yet his vile actions have had long-lasting repercussions, not only for his victims but for the BBC as a whole. As a kid of the 1970s, I was one of millions who would watch Jim'll Fix It with mixed emotions. Yes, there was always a twang of jealousy as someone my age got to meet a TV star, pop singer or speed around a wet track in a London bus. Even at that age though, there was something about Savile that left me uneasy. Speaking to to contemporaries, this seems to have generally been the case. Of course, as an eight year old I had no idea what caused this slight worry but Savile was never a comfortable presenter to watch. he has none of the avuncular fun of John Noakes, the jollity of Johnny Ball or the command of John Craven. Savile was, in hindsight, exactly the kind of man your parents told you never to speak to. Well, now the children of yesteryear are speaking out about him. I admire their bravery and although Savile himself cannot be dragged before a court, those who were in the know certainly have a case to answer.

I suppose mentioning a mere TV show after all that may sound like unnecessary froth. However, BBC2's The Great British Bake Off has yet again been a slice of joy this autumn. I now know what a pithivier is and realise that my kitchen is incomplete without a proving drawer. The final was a cook-off between three male contestants. James Morton, a twenty-something medical student from Scotland had spent weeks dazzling Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with an array of tarte tatins and petits fours. For the final he made the major mistake of overcomplicating his chiffon sponge - or rather the five sponges he managed to produce. Brendan Lynch, who seemed to be channelling Catherine Tate's 'Me dear? Gay dear? How very dare you!' character, was criticised for his 1970s approach to cooking and often seemed to wreck his chances by slinging mandarin segments and glacé cherries on everything. Which left the field open for law student John Whaite, despite having several crises of confidences and almost hacking his hand off, to win through. Congratulations to him. Here's hoping he celebrates with a macaroon and a sponge finger.

There was sadness at Downton Abbey last weekend as Lady Sybil succumbed to a bad hairstyle. No, really - it looked as though a hairdresser with conjunctivitis and blunt scissors had been hacking away at her barnet. Sporting this hideous frizz, Lady Sybil gasped her last. Lady Mary, she of the alabaster looks and disinterested voice, shed the briefest of tears. Below stairs, camp footman Barrow wept as though he'd just heard of Judy Garland's demise. Mrs Patmore restrained herself from flicking through her Mrs Beaton for a Mourning Cake recipe and, for once, no withering comment from the Dowager Countess. Well, even she couldn't reduce this event to a pithy one-liner. Whether Lady Sybil's newborn will be fashioned into a Catholic firebrand or another ditzy English aristo remains to be seen. let's just hope she doesn't inherit her mother's hair . . .

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