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Trial by Tabloid?
October 30, 2002 1:36 AM   Subscribe

Trial by Tabloid? Top BBC presenter Angus Deaton has been sacked after a sex & drugs scandal. He has presented comedy news quiz Have I Got News For You for over ten years. So, is ti right for him to be sacked after trial by tabloid? Do we actually care what our T.V. presenters get up to after the cameras are turned off?
posted by prentiz (16 comments total)

 
The BBC's justification seemed to be that Deayton was becoming the week's story and obscuring the news that the show is supposed to concentrate on. But when has HIGNFY ever bothered much about satire and news? Sure, Ian Hislop will go on a rant at some point but people watch it for the laughs, not anything else. I think it's more that the BBC can't really justify having Deayton as a high-profile host anymore - doesn't fit with their image. They've tried to compromise - not banning Deayton from the BBC, but sacking him from his best-known show.

Be interesting to see if Stephen Fry does get the job instead - after all, he's been in prison for credit card fraud himself (though that was a long time ago, of course)...
posted by humuhumu at 2:01 AM on October 30, 2002


It's sad news. I can't imagine anyone can do the "sarcastic sneer" as well as Deayton. Stephen Fry would be OK. John Seargent is a leftfield suggestion.

I think the Beeb's justification is correct. Humuhumu points out that Deayton has only been removed from this one programme. What kind of moral authority would Deayton have had in poking fun at others? There would be cries of "hypocrite" every time. Not only that it would quickly get boring, as Hislop and Merton keep bringing Deayton's past indiscretions up.
posted by salmacis at 2:07 AM on October 30, 2002


Do I care what they get up to? No, not really. There are people doing far worse out there. Plus I actually like Have I Got News For You.
posted by ralawrence at 2:09 AM on October 30, 2002


Thats the price you pay for being in the spot light. John Leslie has been convicted of raping Ulrika Johnson by the media. He hasn't been charged with anything, but his reputation has been ruined forever
posted by JonnyX at 2:48 AM on October 30, 2002


John Leslie never really had much of a reputation though - certainly not amongst the media/tv communities who worked with him.
posted by mopoke at 2:56 AM on October 30, 2002


What kind of moral authority would Deayton have had in poking fun at others

eh? it's a tv show not a moral court. you don't need "moral authority" (wtf does that mean - that he's the pope?) to make jokes about other people.

i think it's a real pity. i also wish i could have seen the episodes where he was "squirming" (and i think it's disingenuous of the bbc's article to focus on criticism he received on the show - such behaviour is absolutely consistent with how the program works).
posted by andrew cooke at 2:56 AM on October 30, 2002


I think the BBC have scored a massive own goal here. Most people could care less if Angus swung from the timbers having consensual cocaine sex with as many partners as he wished.

It was fun last night watching News 24 presenters read out email after email slagging off the BBC for this.

If I was Merton or Hislop I'd refuse to do the show 'till he came back.
posted by fullerine at 3:36 AM on October 30, 2002


If I was Merton or Hislop I'd refuse to do the show 'till he came back

The interesting thing there is that, in a large part, the BBC seem to be implying that Merton and Hislop's behaviour is part of the reason he became untenable as a host. They gave him a pretty big slating by all accounts last week, including Merton wearing a t-shirt with a copy of the NotW's front page. The pair seemed to imply they felt his position was strongly compromised.

By the internal logic of the show, I don't really see what else they could have done, but by focussing on him so much it could have been the final nail in the coffin.

For what it's worth, I don't think anybody could do as good a job as (at least the prelapsarian) Deayton, but then I also think the last couple of series of the show have become increasingly lazy and that it's tottering towards irrelevance anyway.
posted by Hartster at 3:52 AM on October 30, 2002


John Leslie never really had much of a reputation though .

Nonsense, his work in the adult film industry is held in high regard...he's looking a little rough since his departure from mainstream teev though...not safe for work - as if you didn't know...
posted by backOfYourMind at 4:03 AM on October 30, 2002


Fullerine said:
I think the BBC have scored a massive own goal here. Most people could care less if Angus swung from the timbers having consensual cocaine sex with as many partners as he wished.... if I was Merton or Hislop I'd refuse to do the show 'till he came back.

Actually, hundreds of thousands of people DO care what celebrities get up to, which is why the story is such big news, and why Deayton's TV show got higher ratings after his humiliations by the tabloids. I know we urbane readers of MeFi are blasé about drugs and sex, but a lot of British people are both mystified and fascinated with stories about celebrities' kinky predelictions.

Also, the word is that Paul Merton and Ian Hislop were strongly involved in the decision to fire Angus. They have apparently made complaints that his extra-curricular activities have brought the show into disrepute- and the show IS a moral court, because Deayton frequently made jokes about people like Richard Bacon and Frank Bough for their cocaine activities, the implication being that taking cocaine is something that serious members of the media should not be caught doing.
posted by skylar at 6:15 AM on October 30, 2002


If I was Merton or Hislop I'd refuse to do the show 'till he came back
I got the impression on Friday that they really wanted rid of Deayton. Whereas before there comments could be construed as light hearted ribbing of a friend, this week they seemed really venomous. If they had let the matter drop, I think Deayton would not have lost his job, and Merton and Hislop both knew what they were doing.
Despite the fact that this was another case of trial by media, I think the BBC actually did the right thing here. The show worked well in part because of Deayton's patronising contempt of his guests, but as Christina Hamilton made clear, that is no longer possible. This reduces Deayton to nothing more than a link man/quiz master.
As for the trail by media of celebrities, I find myself wanting to care, but actually not giving a toss. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
posted by chill at 6:20 AM on October 30, 2002


Oh, man. When you misspelled his name, I thought you were saying that Professor Angus Deaton was involved in a sex & drugs scandal. Knocked my socks clean off. Good laugh, though.
posted by dilettanti at 6:37 AM on October 30, 2002


Clearly the BBC has no problem with Deayton as they have not sacked him, he is still on contrat with them and will reappear on other shows after a suitable break.

It seems to be his two "co-stars" who did for him so let's hope neither of them have ever taken drugs, had affairs or assaulted their spouses.
posted by johnny novak at 9:50 AM on October 30, 2002


'so long zoltan...perkins'
wont be the same without you!
i like stephen fry as a concept.
maybe andrew 'brillo pad' neil? maybe not.
posted by asok at 10:52 AM on October 30, 2002


Deayton is a bastard. He cheated on his wife whilst she was heavily pregnant and used prostitutes and cocaine. He is paid out of the Licence fee which anyone in the UK with a TV has to contribute to (public money funding illegal activities of a celebrity). Untenable position? Definitely. The only question is how he lasted so long. Don't get me wrong, I've loved the show. But watching it now it's a different programme to what it used to be anyway and it needs a kick up the arse.
posted by boneybaloney at 2:51 PM on October 30, 2002


I don't get it. Have I Got News For You has always celebrated the notoriety of its guests, so why not the presenter as well?

In fact, it did on a number of occasions (see the t-shirt that Merton is wearing in the BBC article).

I don't see how Deaton's excesses could be detrimental to the show. I'd have expected it to draw more audience, if only just to see him squirm every week as Merton and Hislop make jokes at his expense. I remember seeing that show and I loved it!
posted by timyang at 3:22 AM on October 31, 2002


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