It’s not enough that UK fly anglers slam Robson Green’s new programme, Extreme Fishing, to high heaven. No sir: now they’re even posting the official Ofcom link so that the brethren can lodge a formal complaint with those who police the standards of our nation’s television.
I have mixed feelings about this. Certainly, there comes a point where a middle aged Englishman labouring under the illusion that he’s American has to be taken to task. It’s a condition born of a deep-rooted inferiority complex that, in fairness, affects most English males, the difference being that most of us grow out of it once we leave puberty behind.
Not, alas, our Robson. In defending his grating insistence on calling everyone “man” in every other sentence, he’ll no doubt point to his roots as a son of Newcastle, where the word crops up frequently in the Geordie dialect. This mustn’t be allowed to wash, however – the Geordie “man” is delivered with a short, staccato ‘a’ and tends to be used in an accusatory sense, eg “What time d’you call this, man?”
Green’s usage, on the other hand, is the elongated, blokish, mid-Atlantic version – “maan” – and he really should have dumped it once he turned 30. That’s my take opinion, anyhow.
Much as I’d like to see mid-life affectations condemned by an official body, however, I’ll be to pick up off the floor if Ofcom take action on this one, no matter how many fishermen get in touch.
This is the same august body, after all, that did a passable impersonation of a brick wall, back in the days when I was so naive as to expect them to enforce the 9pm watershed where crude language is concerned.
I was ever so polite, too. Did all I could to appear reasonable and worldly and explain to them that, much as I swear with the best of them in moments of stress, I do like certain times in my existence when I can enjoy the English language at a somewhat higher level. Particularly if my children are in the room.
What is the point of having a watershed at all, I put it to them, if “s**t”, “p****d off” and “b*****d” creep into TV dialogue before 9pm? How much job satisfaction can you have in guarding what is effectively another version of Colonel Gadaffi’s ‘line in the sand’?
Water off a duck’s back. I now confidently expect to hear, in my lifetime, a BBC newsreader say, “Good evening. And in the f*****g news tonight…”
If OfCom takes up arms against Robson Green, I’ll know this country really is screwed. Word. And that’s a fact.