Saturday, 22 November 2008

Celebrities In The Headlines

It was recently announced that John Sergeant had decided to quit 'Strictly Come Dancing' so as to avoid winning. What was more surprising was the way in which this made the main news headlines.

There are many newsworthy topics at the moment: with the financial crisis, it seems there are always companies and banks in trouble.

The American presidential election has only recently taken place, and what plans the Present-elect Barack Obama has in store for the US are in many people's minds.

Somalian pirates have recently hijacked a super ship carrying 2 million barrells of crude oil, and we don't know as yet how the situation will be resolved.

Yet John Sergeant quitting Strictly Come Dancing has become headline news. Not only was his decision featured prominently in newspapers and websites, but it also made the BBC's evening news bulletin.

Front Page News

While surfing YouTube, I found that I'm not the only one who thinks that the story, while newsworthy, is not front page news:

However, Sergeant quitting the show was just the start of it. The story was dragged out over the next few days, as he and his dancing partner gave interview after interview on their reasons for leaving.

Reality TV Shows

The fact that he had been a bad dancer and should not have got as far as he did then sparked it's own story, with the press asking 'is this the end of reality TV? Are the public showing that they've had enough?'

Celebrities who had been on the show previously or had taken part on other reality television shows were dragged in to have their say on John leaving.

The consensus was finally reached that 'Strictly' was just a reality show and in fact not a dance show, so the public we allowed to have their joke. A consensus that most of the public had already figured out years ago.

BBC Bashing

You would think that would be the end of it, but in true Daily Mail style, the paper found an angle that meant they could carry out their favourite BBC bashing pasttime.

The suggested that the BBC had forced the political commentator to quit, as he was turning their show into a joke by always getting through.

They couldn't get a good quote out of Sergeant however, and had to report that he was:

Seemingly bemused by the lines of reporters gathered, he said: 'It is quite absurd that I should be in this position having a news conference.

'The reasons for leaving; well it is like, when do you leave a party? You leave before the fighting starts and I think that is what has happened on this occasion.

'We had fun dancing and dancing is a wonderfully enjoyable thing, but if the joke wears thin, if people begin to take things very seriously and if people are getting so wound up that is very difficult to carry on the joke, then it is time to go.'

It seems Sergeant himself couldn't understand how he had managed to get himself into such a position.

The story continued as polls and petitions were set up asking whether he should have left or not, and campaigning to get him back onto the show.

Politicians intervened to give their views on the whole issue: and not just any politicians, both David Cameron and Gordon Brown made sure they had their say.

'Public Fury'

According to Sky News, the BBC were being swamped by complaints that the director general Mark Thompson had let this disaster happen.

The public were furious at what had happened, and were planning to march to Broadcasting House with a petition demanding that he was reinstated on the show.

It became an issue that was discussed on Question Time, with everyone eager to make sure the public knew they were as against Sergeant leaving as the rest of the country.

The whole issue begs the question, if it had not been front page news in the first place, would the 'public fury' been as harsh?

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