The Murdoch Show – A Review

Banana cream pie.
Critical Notice

The end of an extraordinary day, says the TV man. Did anyone else think so? To me it seemed a let-down; predictable, unchallenging, frequently tedious.

What we were watching was, as reader jonolan put it, theatre. And not even good theatre, unless you count the intervention by the pieman – that at least was unpredictable. Otherwise its sole moment of flair was Assistant Commissioner John Yates’ surrealistic claim to be a postbox.

The prince came across more like a villain, and it was the king who vacillated. He wanted to apologise as profusely and humbly as possible – yet he wouldn’t accept the blame. Such inconsistency in a character strains credulity.

The best you can say for the production is that it was well rehearsed. The Murdochs delivered their lines effectively enough: News Corp is a highly ethical organisation, the News Of The World a completely inexplicable and isolated aberration. It was at least a daring conceit. And memorable – though mainly because they kept saying it at every opportunity.

Then in the last act a whole new theme was introduced. The News Of The World was revealed by Rebekah Brooks to be a crusading journal, focused only on protecting children and the rights of soldiers, a paragon of what newspapers should be. But the transformation hadn’t been justified by anything that had gone before, so it lacked conviction.

That’s what this show needs more of. Conviction. Preferably several.

Murdoch’s Evidence – 1

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Showtime!

Time for a little liveblogging I think… Just watching the UK parliament’s select committee hearing (video feed) into the phone hacking affair. The Murdochs will be on later, though at the moment it’s Sir Paul Stevenson, the freshly-resigned head of London’s Metropolitan police.

First though, I want to remark on the fact that more than one News International journalist I’ve heard seems to be of the opinion that if you take any money from Rupert Murdoch – even appear in a 20th Century Fox film – then you are fair game. He has the right to do with you as he pleases. It’s as if they think they work for Satan.

Paul Stevenson is a funny bird, wearing what looks like the Dalek Prime version of police uniform, yet unworldly and even slightly fumbling in manner. Hard to imagine him as the top policeman of all London.

He says that he was satisfied with the Metropolitan Police’s original phone hacking investigation, which found no wrongdoing; sufficiently satisfied that he saw no problem with ten of the Met’s media staff being former News Of The World employees. Yet he also states that the never knew the actual parameters of that investigation.

He says he’s resigning because he’s a leader.