I remember a press conference many years ago down at MIP, the room was packed and not just with eager reporters, there was also a surfeit of testosterone.
Television, then recently released from the monoculture of national broadcasters, had become the field of choice for the world’s more colourful entrepreneurs to compare appendages. Ranged before us were Robert Maxwell, Ted Turner and Silvio Berlusconi, each with a grand and grandiose vision of the future of TV and their landmark place in it.
Twenty years later we know that between them they indulged in some sidelines that ranged from the un PC to the unseemly to the downright criminal (that’s Mr Maxwell m’lud, let me make it clear). But boy do we miss them! I speak as a reporter at heart, of course, and I wonder if there will be a global personality worth the name left in the entire industry once KRM finally gives it up. Mind you, the way he’s going that will be long after I’ve stopped searching for subjects to sketch.
Closer to home two of our local ‘heroes’, both of whom are rarely mentioned without the description of what a ‘character’ they are, have been providing headlines for a ‘right old tear up’ at a YouView board meeting. One suspects part of the motivation was they recognised in each other two of the last people in business you can swear like a trooper at and (allegedly) ‘offer outside’ without landing a law suit, or at least an unfair dismissal claim. Do you think Lord Sugar will file for constructive dismissal by way of bullying?
Both Lord ‘what I sell people is a mug’s eyeful’ Sugar and Richard ‘Asian babes’ Desmond are throwbacks and that’s no bad thing in many ways. But at least they are both genuinely self-made men who have never shied from the aggression and consequent ‘plain speaking’ it takes to be that way. In a world where elitism seems to be wining over social mobility, and of speak of your weight machine management mannequins, I, for one, will be sorry to see them extinct.