Two days ago, the Berkshire home of ‘national treasure’ Cliff Richard was searched by police. In her weekly column in today’s Daily Mail, ‘Platell’s People’, Amanda Platell writes that “BBC cameras were there to record the event and turn the whole thing into a circus, like some cross between The Sweeney and Starsky and Hutch.”

The first thing about this is that it makes no sense. I don’t ever remember John Thaw, in his role as Jack Regan in The Sweeney ever once waving a chair in a lion’s face or swinging from a trapeze at thirty five feet, or Paul Michael Glaser, with or without a leather jacket, with a sheet-white face, red lipstick and oversized multi-coloured trousers held up with huge braces, running up to a crowd of onlookers with a bucket of shredded paper and throwing it over them. What the feck is Platell talking about? It’s a question I often ask myself on a Saturday morning at around this time. 

The article is headed ‘Cliff Doesn’t Deserve This Lurid Trial By Television’. It’s a little unclear from this point (again par for the course with Platell) against whom she is venting her sizeable moral spleen: the police, who (according to Platell) ‘admitted they’d confirmed to the Beeb that they were going to raid the property’, or the BBC for being there to ‘record the event and turn the whole thing into a circus’, or a seventies cop show, or whatever. I hope I’m not doing her an injustice by saying that her issue seems to by covering this event the media have somehow played a part in besmirching the reputation of yet another ‘celebrity’, and that none of us will be able to watch ‘Summer Holiday’ again in the same way. 

I may agree with Platell about this. So what’s the answer? Stop writing about it in the media? But what would Platell have done with all that excess hot air this morning, if she hadn’t written about it? And in the very paper that was very happy to ‘splash’ the breaking news in its online incarnation on Thursday afternoon; the very same paper that this morning is carrying (online) four separate pieces about the Bachelor Boy, all of which may be described as engaging in ‘trial by media’. I wonder at what time this morning Ms Platell will consider handing in her resignation to the Mail, and whatever fee she got paid for her piece to a worthy cause. Billy Graham, for example?

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