Slob on the couch is a poor pretence

28th January 2000 at 00:00
Dear David Baddiel,

Up until now I've never really seen the point of people like you and Frank Skinner. True, you can be funny, but yours is humour without a point, unless reducing everything to the laddish common denominator can be classed as a point, which I don't think it can.

Personally I have nothing against mindless entertainment. I have enjoyed "The Birdy Song" in my time but I do wonder why ITV have announced they're going to pay you and Frank several million pounds to sit in front of camera and burble away unscripted.

I know there's a lucrative business in celebs presenting themselves as yer average man, the slob on the couch who drinks lager, watches footie and knows that there really isn't anything else that matters. Like Chris Evans or those emotional retards in Men Behaving Badly you and Skinner preach a lethargic gospel. It's dumb to try. Those who read, study or clean up after themselves are sad.

Of course I know none of you really subscribes to this doctrine. Chris Evans has worked hard to give youngsters the impression that he's just a lad who's wandered on to TV, done his ow thing and walked off with a packet but he's worked even harder as a businessman.

David, I know that millionaires like you have always postured. In Edwardian times people pretended they'd made it to the top through effortless superiority. In the 1950s every successful guy claimed to be a working-class grafter. Then in the 1990s the lugubrious "lad" became fashionable.

But my worry is for the children who believe your pose. And why shouldn't they? It fits in with their view of how they'd like the world to be. If only homework and GCSEs were truly a waste of time and all you have to do to make a few million is sit down in front of a TV camera and spew forth whatever comes into your head.

Life is not like that however. Success comes to people who have talent, who take calculated risks and, above all, work. David, you are setting a bad example. Unless, of course, your totally unscripted, totally unprepared show is a deeply dull disaster.

Now that would send such a useful message to the young that it might actually be worth several million quid. In fact it would have a point after all.

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