Return with me in time to last Sunday, if you will. Tipped off by a quiz friend, I checked the BBC website for their listings for the coming week. If you're a regular reader you can just imagine some of the choice language that issued from my lips when I saw that those wonderful people, the BBC Two schedulers, have once again dropped Mastermind without so much as a by your leave. What unmissable television event could possibly result in such an unprecedented occurence, you might ask. I'll tell you. Mastermind has been dropped so that they can show a documentary on the Honey Bee !
OK - I'll drop the sarcasm and the mock indignation. Yet I am sure that you understand where I am coming from. The series should have been done and dusted by now, and whoever the worthy champion is should be enjoying public acclaim for his or her achievement.
So, thus moved by the injustice, and a burning desire for righteousness I took the most drastic action I could think of. I emailed Points of View. Desperate situations require desperate remedies.
I will admit that I was very surprised that I received an email in reply the very next day. More than that , there was a phone number, saying that the production team were actually interested in my comments and would like to speak to me about them. Rather surprised, I decided that I'd follow this one up, and see where it all led. So I had a long chat on Monday night with a very nice fellow called Michael. He rather had me at a bit of a disadvantage when he asked me
"Are you a regular viewer of Points of View ? "
The really truthful answer, which would have been
"Listen pal, I couldn't even tell you what day of the week its ever on ."
would have been somewhat rude, so I stammered something to the effect that I hadn't seen it much recently. To which he replied that I was probably a regular viewer in the Terry Wogan era. I didn't tell him that actually I haven't been a regular viewer since the Barry Took era ( - The test card ! Well done BBC ! Another winner ! - Not the 9 O'Clock News c. 1980 )
So Michael went on to tell me that they have updated Points of View, and what they really wanted were for people to film little 30 or 40 second pieces to camera on their own video cameras and send it in to them, and they wanted me to do one. Quite an appealing prospect. However . . . I haven't got a video camera. Nor do I have a mobile phone with video camera capability. Nor do I have a mobile phone at all, but that , as they say, is a story for another day. To use my wife's pertinent summing up,
"You looked enough of a pratt on those shows you've been on, and they were shot professionally. Have you any idea how much of an idiot you'll look if you go ahead with it ? " Sadly, she has a point.
Having said that the door is still open, I could do it, and send it in, but somehow I don't think so.
As regards Mastermind, he did say to me that he hasn't a clue why it gets shunted round so much. Even people who make the programmes can't understand the workings of the minds of BBC schedulers.