Lord Patten’s TV guide

Hint: he ain’t the guy who’s armed

Lord Patten, the incoming BBC Trust chairman, has said he hardly ever watches television. What better qualification for the job? At least Patten won’t be weighed down by the burden of knowing what television programmes people are referring to, or what television programmes are supposed to look like, or how to switch a television on and off properly. He can be a fresh pair of eyes.

But on the off chance Patten does decide to try and learn something about TV before he starts in the role, here’s a beginner’s guide to watching television, especially for him.

Television: The box in the corner of your living room covered in three inches of dust.

Daytime: Programming broadcast throughout traditional office hours…

Soaps: An ongoing, episodic drama series. Named because everyone on EastEnders looks like they could do with a good wash.

Watershed: This is the time of day after which it is deemed acceptable to broadcast content that viewers of a sensitive disposition may find disturbing such as sex, bad language, violence or cricket highlights.

Jumping the shark: A phrase used to describe the moment that a programme stops being good…

Some of this will only be understood east of the Big Pond. And by those of us west of the Big Pond who are addicted to proper football.

The event of this fool being appointed to oversee public broadcasting in the UK reminds us once again that the main qualification for conservatives to serve the nation – is belonging to the proper club, having attended the right school and an affinity for hundred-dollar haircuts.

I’m reminded of “Brownie” – appointed by George W. Bush to run FEMA, the emergency aid providers – essentially on the basis of the quasi-respectable job he did at selling overpriced horses.

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