Sunday, October 18, 2009

BBC: bullying has Brucie baring his teeth

Jo Wood and Brendan Cole: click to go to the Strictly Come Dancing BBC website

Watching Strictly Come Dancing last night, I was reminded of the proverbial London bus: you don't see a knight in shining armour on the BBC for ages, then two come along.

To aficionados of the series, it won't be a surprise to know that Jonathan Ross wannabe Craig Revel Horwood started it all. He's a master of the catty put-down, and perhaps said more about himself than he meant to when he described a performance as "common". The remark's in this "best of" from series 6 that some kind soul has compiled (sorry, Pam!):

Jo Wood - founder of Jo Wood Organics, model and estranged wife of Ronnie Wood of the Faces and Rolling Stones - was having issues with her confidence, and was shown on the pre-dance video hiring a confidence "guru", as her partner, Christchurch-born Brendan Cole had admitted that he righteous anger: Bruce Forsyth gives Craig Revel Horwood a piece of his minddidn't "know how to teach confidence". And it wouldn't have done her self-esteem much good to learn, shortly before dance lessons began, that her hard-living spouse had traded her in for a newer model in the form of cocktail waitress Ekaterina Ivanova.

In the fashion of a bully, Horwood has identified a vulnerable streak in Wood and targeted it like a guided missile - his summation of her foxtrot with partner Brendan Cole last week was that the best part was when she was standing still. In fact, Horwood received a lightly-veiled warning from host Bruce Forsyth (left) the same week ththe champ: Joe Calzagheat he should be careful to wear glasses when judging Joe Calzaghe' dance with Kristina Rihannof. Calzaghe was bullied at school (more targeting?), and his process of toughening himself up undoubtedly contributed to his being the only undefeated boxing champion in Great Britain. He now helps promote the anti-bullying charity beatbullying Wales.
click to go to beatbullying wales
This week, Horwood sneered that Jo was "holding on to her hero" before referring to her as having "skipped like a bush kangaroo", in a reference to the quondam celebrity marsupial. Knowing of Woods' self-esteem problems - information that Horwood had access to from the pre-dance short film - Cole caused consternation by whisking Jo Wood backstage with no further reference to the panel.

Then the second knight took action. In an unprecedented show of anger, Bruce Forsyth - normally a model of genial mild manners - shouted at Horwood, telling him in a prolonged outburst that there was "no need to get personal". Tellingly, once backstage Cole - having been a judge with Horwood on New ZealanMoira Stewart - click to read mored's Dancing with the Stars - told the camera that "it's Craig's ignorance and lack of knowledge of the dance that leads him to say things like this".

It will be interesting to see if Horwood is forced to apologise for his remark. I say this because it fits into the general context of misogyny prevalent in the BBC - witness, for instance, newsreader Moira Stuart's retirement, generally thought to have been, in the words of the Telegraph's Nicole Martin, because she had "become fed up with the BBC’s alleged prejudice against older women"; her former colleague Fiona Bruce, who Fiona Bruce - click to read morenow fronts Antiques Roadshow, has faced accusations which boil down to being female in public - ie that she has sexed-up and dumbed-down the show; and, of course, there are the criminally obscene phone messages left on actor Andrew Sachs' answerphone about his granddaughter Georgina Bailie's relationship with Jonathan Ross, with the Corporation initially in denial that anything out of place had happened in the face of mounting complaints.

In the light of the reaction against Jan Moir's objectionable article on Boyzone Stephen Gateley's death that the Telegraph's blogs editor Damian Thompson records had Marks & Spencers removing their advertising from the Daily Mail website, this may not be the time to focus too much on the personal life of the bisexual former drag queen Stephen Gately RIP - click to read Jan Moir's article, now editedwho described his role in a teenage relationship with a showbusiness "sugar-daddy" as one that he " being a rent boy", other than to ask that if I were to call him a wicked old queen (he's playing the part of the queen in Snow White in Llandudno this Christmas), would it then be me who was cast as being the bully, because I had arguably cast aspersions on an abrasive member of a minority that the BBC perceives as being in need of protection?

To paraphrase Thompson at the end of his excellent article: I've had enough of Craig Revel Horwood, and I can't wait to turn on the TV and see him eat his words.

And if he doesn't, the TV will have advanced a little more in its journey towards the bin.

survivor: click to go to Jo Wood Organics

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