Now that the number of number of complaints – 20,000 or so – Ofcom has received about Big Brother is enough to be a news story in its own right, you might think there’s not a great deal to be gained from sending in complaint no. 20,001, unless you have some sort of grudge against Ofcom and want their staff to have to deal with the extra admin. Complaints to Channel 4 are probably a better bet, given that they started it, so it’s only fair that they should have to deal with the fallout. As it happens, a few years ago I used to work for Channel 4 – in a minor administrative capacity, you understand; I wasn’t Chief Commissioning Editor, or anything like that – and I’d be sent details of all the complaints they received each week. I kept some of the best ones, which I’m going to share with you. To keep them vaguely HP-related, these are all from viewers of Channel 4 News, who seem to have an unusual level of interest in Jon Snow:
Mrs Tewson: “I’m very cross. Jon Snow is talking to someone about the hospitals. He should keep out of it. He’s a newsreader. I’m disgusted with some of these newsreaders. I’m disgusted with this.”
“This is a divine message. The whole world is ignorant. The God Almighty is now physically on the earth. His name is Olunbo Olunbo Olunbo Obu. All of the religions are blind. The end of the world is this year, the millennium. You tell Jon Snow to call me back.”
Mr Toker, Rugby. To express his belief that William Hague is mentally ill and that Jon Snow should have challenged him with this in the interview.
“Would you be interested in doing a programme on the Liberal Democrats? They once called themselves the IRA.”
Re: Anti-capitalist march: “They should be deported. Monkeys the lot of them. We want the house the way we want to run it. I am a Conservative. There is no room for those people. Conservatives have a stronghold over Cheltenham and that’s the way we like it here.”
Confused sounding caller claiming to be Jon Snow’s girlfriend requested his home address. Advised this was confidential. Caller responded: “I’ll find him one day.”
Anon male: “How is it that you are nobbled by Mr Blair just like he’s nobbled the BBC and The House of Commons and The House of Lords. The fate of our country will be decided on 7 June. For Christ’s sake do something to help!” (Caller hung up).
Re: Krishnan Guru-Murthy: “Why do you still have that Islamic extremist twit reading the news? I phoned the other day to complain, so why is he still presenting? Channel is a lot of black lovers, Ali G is an example, everyone is black.”
Caller saying she is the daughter of Jon Snow’s cousin Joseph. Her parents are both very ill and she is desperate to make contact. She has been trying since January – caller did actually say she was so desperate she may be forced to come after him with a knife. (Security advised).
“I would like to see more of the war. I would like to see the twin tower footage over and over again. I like war. More people should be killed and then the insects can take over the world.”
“The photograph you showed of Bin Laden shows him looking very calm, composed and dignified. This gives an emotional message that he is ok. Not to be propogandist at all but you should instead show him looking gaunt and worried.”
And more topically, there was also this, about Davina McCall continuing to present Big Brother while pregnant:
“I am finding Davina McCall’s huge rear really offensive. I used to pleasure myself when she came on screen, but now she just doesn’t do it for me. I really want someone to call me to talk about this.”
There are of course other ways of expressing your views. Last week BBC political editor Nick Robinson wrote about an incident in a pub in Rochdale where he had curry chips thrown at him by an angry drunk man who blamed him for “failing to bring the boys home from Iraq”. Perhaps Harry’s Place readers can think of other figures in the news media who they’d like drunkenly to throw takeaway food at, for something that couldn’t possibly have been their fault. Maybe you’d like to drunkenly pelt Natasha Kaplinsky with doner kebab because of the Iran-Iraq war, or drunkenly throw egg foo yung at Timothy Garton Ash because of the Cuban missile crisis. Your thoughts, as ever, are welcome.