Saturday, December 03, 2005


Mirror screen grab
To be honest, we think the Daily Mirror's double tagging of the news that John Lennon was murdered on December 8th 1980 as an "exclusive" might be pushing it a bit - if you'd run the story on December 7th 1980, it might have been worth getting that excited about it.

The story underneath is even weaker, if anything: it's a cloying recreation of how John spent his final hours, a textbook example of what happens if you put hindsight through rose-tinted spectacles:

Their limousine takes them up Eighth Avenue to Columbus Circle, continues north along Central Park West and then left into 72nd Street. On the way, John chats excitedly about saying goodnight to his five-year-old son, Sean.

Really? Now, we're not denying that he might have said something about popping in to say goodnight to the son he actually had contact with, but we doubt somehow that he was bouncing up and down on his seat going "ooh! I can't wait to kiss my son goodnight."

And then, there's this bit:

Both are on a high. After five years out of the limelight, their new joint album, Double Fantasy, is riding high in the charts and they are busy recording a follow-up.

"What are we going to do when it's No.1, John?" Yoko asks.

"I'll take you out to dinner," he replies.

"That's a date?"

"That's a date."

Although the album went on to top charts around the world, John was never able to keep his promise...

Not with the being dead and all, no, we suppose he wasn't. Mind you, the album would have stalled without him being dead, and, to be fair, Ono has been dining out well on the back of Lennon for the last quarter-century, so it's not like he really broke his promise.

We're expecting more of this sort of mawkish rubbish this week, peaking, of course, on Thursday. Jim McCabe pointed out to us the over-excitement at Radio 4 about the churning out of the old Lennon Rolling Stone interview in today's archive hour - we've even seen it being trailed as "a new interview" (now, that would be a coup) and the trail rotated on 6Music announcing that there's going to be constant interruptions across Thursday for Yoko Ono to speak to the nation is that rare thing - a trail which sounds more like a warning than a promotion.

It's all of a piece, of course, with the over-egging of George Best's funeral this morning - we could just about see the point of providing live coverage, though we'd have said maybe on News24 and perhaps then only on the newsmultiscreen, but in place of kids programmes on BBC ONE? As with Lennon, Best would have been of an age where he was a contemporary of those who make most of the key decisions in TV today; as such, they get accorded a national hero status on the basis of having been childhood heroes.

But if BBC ONE really had to carry Best's funeral, couldn't they at least have done it as part of Grandstand? They could have resurrected the Cup Final Grandstand model, and had a Mastermind special as part of the warm-up. It might have been tacky, but it wouldn't have been as tacky as ITV News Channel ("the network they can't afford to close down") which was inviting people to text messages to be run along the bottom of the screen while they were doing the eulogies.

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