Wednesday 12 November 2014

Britain is no country for an old and once serious, heavyweight broadcaster, recast as a 'lightweight celebrity' called Michael Buerk

The news that the legendary, 68 year old, tv broadcaster, Michael Buerk is heading into the Australian Jungle as one of the 10 contestants in the reality tv show : 'I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!' has prompted a lot of twitter activity :

The shocked and incredulous :

'Good heavens why is Michael Buerk on I'm a Celebrity?'    
'One question looms large in the @ BBC Radio 4 office this morning is: Why Michael Buerk, why?'

The disappointed :

'What the hell is Michael Buerk doing on that celebrity jungle nonsense?! Can't imagine Peter Sissons doing that!'
'Oh dear, Michael Buerk. Oh dear. Will this unfortunate episode of your life be impetus for a future moral maze discussion? '
'disappointed with Michael Buerk for doing I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! thought he was batter than this nonsense'.

The ironic :
'Michael Buerk will mark the 30th anniversary of his Ethiopia Famine report by revealing the suffering of those in the "I'm A Celebrity" camp'
'In 1984 Michael Buerk reported on desperate people huddled together without shelter and forced to eat insects.'

 Michael's decision to become a contestant on this reality tv show is puzzling because :

*  a few months back, the news that BBC3 was to 'go online' to save money, brought a wave of protests from journalists with the exception of Michael, who was reported in 'The Daily Mirror' as saying that he labelled this Youth Channel's output as being at the "embarrassing end of drivel" with shows such as 'Snog, Marry, Avoid?', dismissed as "cutting-edge tripe".

* his long and distinguished career in BBC News, spanning 30+ years, is best remembered because he first brought the plight of millions of starving Ethiopians to British tv screens in 1984 in reports watched in horror by singer Bob Geldof, ,who then bullied and cajoled a host of pop stars into gathering to form 'Live Aid' and persuaded millions of people to part with their money to help the starving.

* the other celebrities tipped to appear on the show, including X Factor star Jake Quckenden, motorcycle pro Carl Fogarty, rapper Tinchy Stryder, model Nadia Forde, former footballer Jimmy Bullard and Coronation Street star Craig Charles, are not the kind of 'celebrities' with whom he would normally associate.

What has Michael got to say for himself ?

"I am very sniffy about reality TV and when they first approached me, I thought they were joking. Why on earth would I want to do something like this?  And then I went through a phase of thinking "what the hell." You are a long time dead and I'd rather be pilloried for what I did than be disappointed of what I didn't."

"I do think it will be good fun. I like to think of myself as a serious journalist and for that, you did have to suppress your personality - and rightly so. Maybe doing this is some kind of late midlife crisis."

And then, of course, there is the £120,000 Michael is being paid for his services. 

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