Friday, 11 December 2009

How The Papers Work

Thursday was enlivened by a trip to the Millennium Hotel in London's Grosvenor Square (more on this auspicious location in a moment) for a grand event, the induction into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame of Sir Terry Wogan. Quite an occasion, with a packed room listening to tributes from fellow broadcasters and a barnstorming speech from Sir Tel himself before rising in a heartfelt ovation.

Amongst those saying a few words was Radio 1's breakfast star Chris Moyles. He was funny. Very good. Room in stitches. There was just one edgy moment when he made a slightly disparaging remark about Sarah Kennedy's early breakfast show. Nothing too drastic. Nothing Sarah couldn't - and didn't - take in her stride. Moyles moved on, no big fuss.

Later, over drinks in the foyer, I was talking nostalgic radio talk with Sarah, and I also mentioned how proud I think Radio 2 should be to be offering - in an era of considerable radio blandness in some other quarters on the dial - something as individual and distinctive as Sarah's show. It all got quite emotional (feel the love in the room, end of an era etc) and Sarah shed a small tear before we consoled each other with a hug.

It was at that moment that the Daily Mail reporter swooped and asked for Sarah's reaction to Chris Moyles' speech. Sarah gave a perfectly charming and poised response and all continued to be well with the world.

At least that's how I saw it... Meanwhile, in the Mail:

Chris Moyles' jibes reduce Sarah Kennedy to tears at event to celebrate Sir Terry Wogan's career ... Chris Moyles was at the centre of a bad taste row last night after he mocked Radio 2 DJ Sarah Kennedy in a foul-mouthed speech.

Ho hum. Maybe we were at a different event!

Now, where was I? Ah yes. The Millennium Hotel. An excellent establishment and purveyors of a very good lunch. Can't fault 'em. Only trouble is, I can't completely shake the memory that that was where the former Russian secret service man Alexander Litvinenko had his fatal encounter with the Polonium 210 in November 2006. In a cup of afternoon tea, the inquiry said. Clearly, it would have been insensitive of me to mention this to any of my fellow guests as the post-lunch tea and coffee pots came round. More tea, vicar?

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