Channel 4: screw-ups continue

It’s weird what’s happening at Channel 4. A channel which began as the most innovative and interesting experiment in modern broadcasting history has become unbelievably tacky. Following on the fiasco of the racist exchanges on Big Brother comes this.

Graphic images of the car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales, are to be made public for the first time next week in a Channel 4 documentary that has been condemned as ‘grossly intrusive’ and bound to cause distress to Princes William and Harry.

One photograph shows Diana receiving oxygen from a French doctor, Frederic Mailliez, who had been travelling in the other direction and who had not yet realised the identity of his famous patient. It is clear that the princess has been thrown forward into the footwell behind the driver’s seat. At the front of the car, a passing student is shown trying to help Trevor Rees-Jones, Diana’s bodyguard….

My mate Tony Holden, who knows about these things, is quoted in the same article as saying:

‘It’s grossly intrusive and beyond the bounds of anything remotely tasteful, and will no doubt upset her sons enormously.’

Holden said he was aware that such pictures existed but that the media had acted responsibly in self-censoring them. ‘One has heard about British journalists looking at them and not only refusing to publish them but wiping them from the system so people in the office could not be voyeuristic. I didn’t think anyone would sink so low as to broadcast or publish them,’ he said.

My guess is that there’s something seriously wrong with the top management in Channel 4. Luke Johnston Johnson, the Chairman, is a restaurant entrepreneur, not a broadcaster. Andy Duncan, the Chief Executive, is a cheeky chappie who goes around dressed like a financially-challenged undergraduate. Both seem to have tin ears for public disquiet. Both probably believe that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. They’re wrong.