One of the many many highlights of BBC4’s recent Nationwide documentary was the sight of Michael Barratt blithely doing a bit to camera while a pot plant grew out of his desk.
This instantly confirmed the admission of Mike’s office suite (telephone, ashtray and customised wall of monitors included) to that uber-exclusive inventory: the First Division of Television Furniture.
But does it command enough upholstered clout to outrank any of the Division’s current top five?
1) The BBC Weathermen Daytime Desktop Conversation Area
Perma-feature of the mid-to-late 1980s, never without an in-season bouquet, that tantalisingly-unexplained ‘box of tricks’ at the forecaster’s fingers, and a view across London allowing details of the climate to be followed niftily by an avuncular ‘…as you can see behind me’.
2) The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop Presentation Pod
Vaguely space age-esque circular plaything covered in crap but boasting space for Edmonds to rakishly put his feet up. “People are always asking me, how do you get inside it?” fibbed Noel every week. He revealed the answer on the last edition. A nation shrugged.
3) The Dave Allen Anecdote High Chair And Retractable Side Table
Uncomfortable-looking contraption from which its occupant dispensed pointed blarney and acidic blather, usually involving as many equally terse arm gestures as possible. Accompanying left-hand add-on accessory served as holding pen for important visual aids and safety blankets.
4) The Channel 4 Daily Newsreader Bureau
Thunderously po-faced look-how-serious-we-are arrangement of dull and joyless colours and items organised for maximum potency to remind the viewing several of how fucking ghastly the world is first thing in the morning. Available in London, Washington and Tokyo varieties.
5) The Turnabout Swimming Pool
Never knowingly used, referred to, advertised, entered, drained, chlorinated, defumigated, sifted, salinated, polluted or covered out-of-season to avoid falling leaves. But it was still genius.