Strictly John Sergeant

When it comes to John Sergeant I’m breaking a self-imposed rule not to blog about people I know. I’ve been a colleague of his for over 30 years. I’m a bit younger and a bit less overweight but we have a background in common. Now all has changed and mentioning him seems like name dropping. For the first time in my life I’ve voted in a talent show and naturally, it was for him. By voting week by week for John’s astute charm and well deserved dancing modesty, the people have rebelled against the whinging judges. Is it whole thing turning sour? Now that Mandy has hopped on board the bandwagon effect is getting serious. The acid TV reviewer AA Gill reminded them what Strictly was about.

Strictly Come Dancing is not a dancing competition. The X Factor is not a talent contest. The Queen Vic is not a real pub, and Basil Brush isn’t actually a talking fox. They are all entertainments. Hands up anyone who remembers the name of the men’s ski-jump gold medallists the year Eddie the Eagle came last? Exactly. Who knows, who cares?

Although in his youth John had been a straight man in the celebrated satirical review Beyond the Fringe, he had been a pretty straight and sober sort of political correspondent throughout his career. That level headedeness is standing him in good stead, as well as putting up his market rate for after dinner speeches. Like Mandelson I’m green with envy. The only drawback for John is the price of fame that will make it more difficult for him to pass unnoticed at the supermarket check-out or on the tube, which is where I mostly tend to bump into him these days. I expect he’ll cope. Good luck to him.. All the same, spare a thought for poor Cherie Lunghi, she’s still such a babe…

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

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