Welcome back to my weekly showbiz ramble and thank you to readers who contact me, which is always encouraging as writing is a lonely occupation. The latest was a chap from America commenting on my article about Marilyn Monroe and informing me she suffered from a stutter, which was very interesting.

This week I am going to have another go at my beloved BBC as I care about it. I fear within the next 10 years or so it will not remain the same as it bleeds younger viewers and the grim reaper takes out older viewers like myself. It is a monolith that needs a dramatic pruning. I cannot believe they employ a young lady as their 'diversity champion' at a salary of £267,000 a year for a three-day week. That would be enough for the NHS to employ 10 nurses and both organisations are funded by our money. I totally agree that we must destroy discrimination, but sensibly. Take Doctor Who, for example, which has lost half its ratings in recent years. Apparently the new Doctor Who will either be a black actress or a gay actor. If the BBC were making the 007 films would they insist that it was renamed Jane Bond? Their scriptwriters are equally to blame with 'worthy' storylines about issues that obviously bore many of their viewers while seeking to tick boxes. The BBC must remember that it can only survive if people want to watch and pay their licence fee.

Turning to ITV and I am glad they have finally dumped, or should I say reviewed their options, regarding the one-time hit show X Factor. It should have been cancelled about five years ago but alas the executives in charge hung on. When it first started, X Factor was a must-see show and people talked about it the next day. Viewers lapped up the sob stories and the good and bad singers. The trouble was, viewers grew tired of the sob stories, such as "I am singing this song in memory of my dead hamster" or something similar. Simon Cowell also made the mistake of becoming softer, as such shows need a pantomime villain on the judging panel. He does not need to worry as he is apparently worth £385 million, which is good for a boy who grew up in Elstree.

I had the pleasure to organise a plaque unveiling in his honour at Elstree Studios in 2006 and he is actually a great guy. However he was not the first television nasty on a television talent show. Remember New Faces in the 1970s with Tony Hatch on the panel? He is another nice guy off screen and such a talent as a record producer and music composer. He was responsible for writing such television theme tunes as The Champions, Crossroads, Emmerdale Farm, Sportsnight and Neighbours. Now aged 82, he lives in Spain. In 2020 they made him an OBE, which I thought was disgusting considering how easily they hand out awards today - it should have been a knighthood. Alas Tony is now a bit forgotten whereas I suspect Simon eagerly awaits his knighthood as the honours system is now about celebrity and to show the old boy network is down with the dudes. Pity they never knighted the likes of Ronald Colman, David Niven, Richard Burton, Basil Rathbone and even Boris Karloff.

Well that is enough of my rants, and at the end of the day what do I know? But one of the few privileges of getting old is that you can be grumpy. Until next time take care so we can once again enjoy a ramble down Memory Lane.

  • Paul Welsh MBE is a Borehamwood writer and historian of Elstree Studios