So, farewell then, Charles Allen of ITV. It turned out to be one of the longest goodbyes in television and was predicted in our profile in March 2006. ‘Part of my job is taking the bullets,' Allen told the world this week, ‘but you can only take so many bullets.' Indeed, the flak had being flying for some time as ITV's ratings drooped lower and lower. Allen may have had an accountant's hard head for numbers but had few creative credentials. The quality of some of the pap currently being pumped out by ITV is little short of shocking and the board - which includes no fewer than three knights of the banking industry, in place to keep the City happy - will need to do some proper imaginative thinking in their search for a new CEO and remember that TV is a creative business.
ITV's desperate search for something that might pull in the viewers reminds us of the legendary scene in I'm Alan Partridge where the maverick radio presenter from Norwich is trying to pitch ideas to the chief commissioning editor of BBC television. He comes up ‘Youth Hosteling with Chris Eubank', ‘Monkey Tennis' and ‘Arm Wrestling With Chas 'n' Dave' - and then ‘Inner City Sumo'. Partridge explains: ‘We take fat people from the inner cities, put them in big nappies, and then get them to throw each other out of a circle that we draw with chalk on the ground. Very cheap to make. Do it in a pub car park.' ‘No,' says Mr BBC. ‘If you don't do it,' Partridge replies, ‘Sky will.'