The Stephen Byers affair is a classic example of the press wielding its power to remind the establishment who’s really pulling the strings. What the media least likes is the feeling that someone’s trying to get one over on them – as Sir Richard Mottram, Martin Sixsmith, Jo Moore and Stephen Byers now know to their cost.
While the nation is gripped by Pop Idol fever, the ‘stars’ involved are set to make a mint. But are the real losers in the show – or on the sofa? This is the big new entertainment business – sellebrity. Hype people’s hopes, get them to shell out time and money in the (illusory) pursuit of fame, and clear off when you’ve cleared a profit.
Jamie Theakston’s recent brush with the tabloids did wonders for his image. Was this a cunning PR stunt or has the media changed its tune? Jamie’s future looks extra-rosy to me. His image is now nicely tarnished with a tantalisingly grungy edge, a frisson of unpredictability and danger, that makes him just a little cultishly appealing.