Farewell to Whiteley's ferret

Much gnashing of teeth over Ofcom’s decision that ITV should be allowed to drop some regional news bulletins, reduce regional programming by 50 per cent and cut back on some current affairs programmes.

Now no-one wants to see another 500 jobs at risk (and God only knows what the running total across all media must be at the moment), but will we really miss some of those appallingly amateurish bulletins? Because let’s face it, by any professional measure, local ITV news is crap.

Writing on the MediaGuardian website, John Plunkett celebrates this crapness, claiming “it was all part of the charm of regional news, with presenters who were sometimes simply too oddball or – whisper it quietly – not good enough to cut it on a national bulletin. ”

Well he might find it endearing; I find it fucking infuriating.

What is there to celebrate about presenters who aren’t good enough to do a proper job? What is there to celebrate about the bloke who does the early morning bulletin in my region who regularly crashes links, forgets to turn his sound on or, on more than one occasion, fails to turn up at all, leaving the bemused viewer staring in bafflement at a GMTV test card?

Life is stressful enough without finding yourself shouting at the telly at 6.38am.

And what is this “local” news anyway? Half a dozen stories lifted from the regional press, at least a day or two after publication, covering an area that might run from Chesterfield to Northallerton or Penzance to Portland. What’s local about that?

No, I’m sorry, ITV’s plight is just not worth protesting about. There’ll still be enough Partridgesque BBC presenters around to do the low rent personal appearances and the WI talks. It’s time to wave goodbye to Anglia’s knight on horseback and Richard Whiteley’s ferret.

“So have a good morning, and it’s back to Penny and John in Lo….”

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