Something alarming happened while I was watching Lorraine this week, something I do every morning as one of the idiosyncrasies of my job is that I work almost exclusively in the evenings and hence one becomes quite the daytime TV afficionado and Lorraine, incidentally, is a cracking watch. I was tucking into my boiled eggs and soldiers, I have a variation of this every morning – sometimes poached, sometimes scrambled, often featuring mushrooms… my life is very much like the early days of Motley Crue I know, eating a variety of egg and bread based breakfasts is in fact the modern equivalent of doing a line of coke off a groupie’s bare bottom. Anyway I was watching Lorraine and thoroughly enjoying Ross King’s showbiz report (my favourite part of the show) when they showed some clips of Tom Daley (the Disney Prince-faced diver) and Ross informed us he has a ‘big presenting career’ ahead of him.
Now I’m sure Tom Daley’s a nice lad and a bloody fine diver and may even make a good presenter but this does rile me. It’s part of a recent trend of people ‘off the telly’ being allowed to present high-profile and lucrative gigs. Daley did Splash! (fair enough) but that was widely deemed to be the among the worst shows ever to grace our increasingly dire television schedules and hence TD should never be allowed to present anything that’s not directly related to diving. I feel the same about Mark Wright presenting Take Me Out: The Gossip. Again, I’m sure he’s a perfectly affable chap and I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s talentless but a presenter he ain’t. I was once sitting in a major agent’s office when I pointed out that I thought Mark Wright was ‘one of the worst presenters I’ve ever seen’ and the agent promptly turned to me and said with a flourish of conviction ‘He’s the worst anyone’s ever seen!’. Even worse, Gemma off TOWIE doing the fashion segment on This Morning, I mean piss off universe!
The reason this cheeses me off so much and I know I’m not the only presenter who feels like this, is that these people haven’t had to pay their dues. A lot of presenters are qualified journalists, with finely honed skills of research, written and verbal dexterity and a nose for a story. Many others (myself included) have clawed their way up through a torrent of shit, making bugger-all money, chatting to abject bell ends and standing in the pissing rain on red carpets for hundreds of hours, often to get a 30 second conversation with someone who thinks you’re a dick anyway. So obviously, when you do your first big interview with a huge star or get to work for a worldwide media outlet, you’re justly proud. But then you open the paper and see Mark Wright gets to go out with Michelle Keegan and you feel a bit miffed, then you turn on the telly and there’s a random woman from Essex telling you what brogues are ‘in’ this winter and your weary eyes illicit a lonely tear, so you change the channel and there’s Gaz out of Geordie Shore presenting The Weakest Link and you’re fucking head explodes! Ok s that one’s not happened yet but sadly it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
I don’t hold anything against these people personally. Tom Daley seems like a good bloke and a respected athlete but why does he get to go to Hollywood and try and bamboozle sorority girls into bed while I’m counting out the dosh for my Child Travelcard to go and interview someone I’ve never heard of? Same with the Reality-TV-Drama-Soap-Brainmush stars. If they want to bear their souls to the world so some fat geezer with a roll-up hanging out his gob will want to take their photo outside a tacky nightclub then good luck to them but they’re not journalists!
If this article sounds bitter it’s because it is but it’s also resigned to a world where arbitrary fame itself justifies skipping numerous steps on a slippery career ladder, where in order to be good enough to progress you have to experience each level and it doesn’t feel fair. The respect for fame without achievement is a theme I have consistently returned to in JoeBusiness and more than my own personal foibles I think it’s a worrying and unhealthy societal trend. What’s next, you go in to have your emergency triple bypass and as the doctors remove their surgical masks, to explain this life-threatening and miraculous procedure you realise the faces leering down at you are Arg, Diags and Joey Essex, because the hospital’s having a ‘Scars from the Stars’ day?
First published on IAmMusic.TV, 31st March 2013