Those who know me, have read my articles or have just seen me ranting in the street will be aware that for the better part of two decades I’ve been railing against the television presenter and sometime columnist Claudia Anne Winkleman. A festering sore I’ve long struggled to scratch, Ms Winkleman has occupied a lot of my time and way too much of my wrath, both of which could have been better employed fighting crime and/or bringing an end to Ant and Dec’s reign of terror.
But now, after some 175,000 hours, I have glimpsed the truth of the situation. And so it is that I find myself with but one word on my lips...
Yes, I’m sorry, Claudia Winkleman.
I’m sorry you were born to parents – Express editor Eve ‘Don’t Call Me Bollard’ Pollard and publisher Barry Winkleman - who didn’t consider nepotism one of the dirtiest words in the English language. I’m sorry you chanced upon an organisation like the BBC that also sees nothing wrong with the practice. I’m sorry that, once Zoe ‘daughter of Johnny’ Ball came along, said television company grew convinced that decent presenters spokeinabreathlessmannerrefusingtopauseforamomentincaseanyonerealisedtheyhadnothingtosayofsubstanceorimport. I’m sorry you don’t understand the difference between being quick and being witty. I’m sorry that your only comedic gambit is to point out that the naff gags you’re reading are someone else’s fault, which raises questions such as i) as an ex-writer yourself (seriously, she used to have a column in The Independent) don’t you think that’s very disrespectful? and ii) if you’re so bloody smart, why not write your own sodding material? Oh yes, and I’m really sorry that someone thought you were up to hosting Film 2010.
Yes, that’s right – she’s now been doing that job for FOUR BLOODY YEARS
“So you think you could do a better job?” bellows a fictional construct. Well, yes, I do. But then so could you, any of you reading this. Okay, ballroom dancing and motion pictures might not be your bag (do people still say that, ‘bag’?) but the odds are there’s a subject close to your heart that you could expound upon with genuine passion and insight. And were you to take up the seat opposite Danny Leigh, provided you didn’t give props to one of your partner’s films (Kris Thykier’s W.E.), claim you’d like to build a shrine to a leading lady (Jennifer Lawrence) and use the word ‘stunning’ like it was about to be outlawed by the EU, you’d be a vast improvement on its current occupant.
Now if you’ve made it this far, you’ll have noticed that this rant – yes, I’ll fess up to it, this is a rant – makes no mention of the one thing about Ms Winkleman that really gets the general public steamed, her fringe. There are two reasons for this. The first is that, if like me you’re half-man, half-manatee, you’re in no position to pick apart someone else’s physical idiosyncrasies. But more importantly, to hark on about something like a dodgy haircut is to miss the point entirely. Because while she might not do anything for you personally, there are people out there who consider Claudia Winkleman an attractive person. The only problem with this is that some of these people are her employers and they’ve been putting style over substance since before the electorate kicked out James Callaghan.
While all this frothing at the mouth has left me feeling rather dehydrated, there is a genuine word of apology I’d like to proffer. Because at least now I realise what you, Claudia Winkleman, were put on this earth for. Yes, your purpose in life is to make Tess Daly look halfway competent, which is quite something when you consider Mrs Kay’s only triumph in life is the ability to put up with Vernon. But then again next to the Winklevile, even Reggie Yates would look like Jacob Bronowski.