Banks' Notes 24.03.06

WELL, it all went off pretty well, since you ask. Lacking anything remotely resembling a punch-up, the customary bread roll barrage or even the traditional drunken hectoring of the presenter, I bet the new, improved hit-’em-with-the-awards-before-they-get-pissed Press Gazette Gong Show will have left the Boycott Brigade feeling as jaded as I was the morning after.

A good spread of victories for Britain’s comics, both large and small, rewarded the Bash Street Kids equally as well as it did Lord Snooty and His Pals.

The Sunday Times scooped the most awards while The Guardian was named — almost inevitably — Newspaper of the Year.

And those bruising, boozing rivals The Sun and Mirror — their tables carefully positioned at opposite ends of the Dorchester’s ballroom and kept apart by a thoughtfully constructed Berliner Wall of posh folk — were each given three trophies so they wouldn’t squabble.

A controversial decision to ease the overload of paying customers by relegating the freeloaders (assorted judges, Yours Truly, Jean Morgan and the like) to a distant scullery served with a closed-circuit television feed was abandoned after howls of protest led by overfed LBC gabfester Nick Ferrari.

I was, I confess, rather disappointed at the organisers’ backdown on the issue of sending us to Bad Boys’ Corner. In my breakfast radio days I delighted in closeting myself grumpily in splendid solitude while the station’s news director Paul Connew, effing and jeffing his way (at full volume) through a series of early morning phone calls, competed with an irritatingly cheery Ferrari’s booming jokes, which he accompanied with his own laughter track.

At the Dorchester, I would happily have settled for a comfy broom cupboard, a light sandwich supper, a couple of brown ales and a black-and-white portable so I could watch the footy.

After all, they could easily have given me a wake-up call in the event of me being summoned onstage to shed tears à la Paltrow as I received a long overdue, but well-merited Lifetime’s Achievement Award…

FREELANCE photographer Edmond Terakopian’s images from the 7 July London bombings really wowed the Photographer of the Year judges, not just for their stunning quality, but also for their rarity value.

"He was snapping for 15 to 20 minutes before the police winkled him out," veteran Scots smudge-judge Arthur Foster told me, admiringly.

Apparently it took British police years to adopt the kind of press controls that have been commonplace for decades at major incidents in the US. Snappers at Kennedy’s assassination, for instance, were corralled in a press bus travelling BEHIND the motorcade. Our boys in blue have got the hang of it now, though.

PIC-TIP: Scene of Crime Officers (cops with camera training)

have forsaken modern digital for old-fashioned film because clever briefs are persuading juries that digi-pix are a doddle to diddle.

If this argument catches on, where the Plods have trod might the paps have to follow?

davidbanks@pressgazette.co.uk

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