Managing editor John Scammell, who the Daily Mail accused of passing out at his desk after over-indulging at a pre-Christmas lunch, apparently left the job in December without serving out his notice period.
According to the Mail, colleagues found him happily snoring away over his keyboard, so ‘over-refreshed’ that they couldn’t actually wake him up. At which point they did the responsible thing, and invited all his staff into his office to point and laugh.
So in the circumstances, it’s perhaps not surprising that he’s decided to call it a day. Particularly since it’s not the first time his ‘tired and emotional’ antics have got him into trouble. He was banned for drink-driving last year, and even managed to be photographed flashing his bottom at Kim Wilde’s hen do in 1996 (though far be it from us to hold that against him).
These days this kind of behaviour seems absolutely outrageous – but it’s worth remembering that it wasn’t always so. It wasn’t long ago that a big boozy lunch was considered perfectly acceptable – even advisable if you had clients to schmooze. MT certainly knows a few veteran hacks who still hanker for the days when a liquid lunch and an afternoon kip were par for the course in the world of journalism.
As for falling asleep on the job – if there’s never been an afternoon when you’ve felt your eyelids getting heavy as you look at your computer screen, you’re better workers than we are… At the height of the dotcom boom, the power nap was all the rage – every internet company worth its salt had a comfy sofa if you fancied 20 minutes of shut-eye in between your morning calls to London and your afternoon chats with Silicon Valley. There’s even scientific research that supports this idea.
Still, it’s yet another embarrassment GMTV doesn’t need after a year where its reputation has been dragged through the mud. It was fined £2m and forced to issue a grovelling apology after being found guilty of a phone-in scam, where viewers were encouraged to call premium rate numbers to enter non-existent competitions.
On the other hand, GMTV has apparently been trying to trim costs by getting senior staff to take voluntary redundancy – so at least Scammell’s departure is good news for the wage bill...