Never go back said Stephen Fry, but it seems Lord Melvyn of Borderland can’t wait to do precisely that. He’s been offered a bauble by the ITV mafia, and he’s grabbed it with both of his I’m-bonkbustering-Cumbria hands.
The South Bank Show, or the Southbank Show as it now appears to be called, is to be revisited in a show ingeniously titled The Southbank Show Revisited.
Just when we thought the schedules were free from endless sequences of crinkled celebrities shuffling down the streets where they chalked their first hopscotch 200 years ago, just when we thought our screens were free from establishment figures tittering at black-and-white clippage of their first television play (“It was all live, you know, all completely live – BWWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”), just when we thought our lives were free from ever having to see another exchange that begins with Sir Melv asking a twentysomething pop wannabe, “So, what is your next project?”…it turns out it wasn’t and they weren’t.
The list of those about to be pontificated at reads like your average Parky episode: Andrew Lloyd Webber (like he hasn’t already made enough money out of this franchise, and who incidentally has a new musical to plug), Judi Dench (who has a new Shakespeare play to plug), Ian McKellen (who has a new Beckett play to plug) and Billy Connolly (who has a new joke to plug).
It’s all very unnecessary and undiginified, especially as there was a decent burial for the proper South Bank Show the other month, where everyone including Prince Charles turned up to moan at ITV. But by being unnecessary and undignified, it is at least in keeping with the character of its forefather’s last decade on this earth.
Don’t do it, Melvyn. Don’t do a Double Goodbye. Your troth best lies with refereeing squabbling academics on Thursday mornings on Radio 4.