It’s 20 years since I threw caution to the wind and swapped a steady (ish) job and salary for the precarious life of a freelance. But right at the start, I made a solemn promise – and it’s one I’ve never broken. I would not, I told myself, ever sneak out of my office to watch daytime TV. If I did it once, I knew I’d be doomed.
But daytime radio is a different matter – which is how I came to hear Jeremy Vine talking to Richard Bacon about his new book, It's All News to Me, on BBC Five Live yesterday.
I was glad I did because Vine (who’d just finished his lunchtime show on Radio 2) told Bacon of his firm belief that “there is still a place for the analogue newspaper.” He described how he'd spread that morning’s newspapers across the kitchen floor to show his eight-year-old daughter Martha their impressive coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. “It’s just not the same on a screen,” he told listeners.
I completely agree. The last year has been a shameful one for newspapers but their coverage of the four-day jubilee has shown them at their stupendous best. While the BBC was castigated for its inane reporting of the flotilla, newspapers rose to the challenge in admirable style. The pictures were stunning, the reporting extensive and knowledgeable and The Times cleverly hit on the idea of creating a new game called Corgis, Snakes and Ladders (above) to mark the event. I stuck it on the kitchen wall – with the result that my staunchly republican husband and son can now quote everything from the date the Queen’s first corgi, Susan, died (1959) to the year Prince Harry was born (1984).
PS. Never mind calling for Gary Barlow to be knighted, the people who should be honoured in double-quick time are the team who dreamed up the stunning montage beamed across Buckingham Palace on Monday night. As Madness belted out Our House from the roof (lead singer Suggs confessed later that he suffered from vertigo), the front of the palace was transformed into a row of terraced houses with a double-decker bus and taxi trundling past, a block of high-rise flats and much, much more. It was the best moment of the night.