How on earth do you sleep at night?

Matt BakerThis week, I found myself in the unusual situation of being disappointed by ‘Newsnight’ and pleased by ‘The One Show’. These are feelings I’m still trying to come to terms with.

Having watched Jeremy Paxman’s only slightly fawning interview with Noam Chomsky on Tuesday night, I was eager to see him let loose on Jim Davidson; someone you could say is a bit of an easy target. After all, the only reason he was on the show was because he’s written and is starring in a play about a washed up racist comedian who sees the error of his ways.

OK, the interview was only short, so there wasn’t time to get into the real nitty gritty of the complex issues surrounding a man who is still largely thought of as a ‘racist comedian’, even though he claims not to have told a racist joke for 20 years. But Paxman let him get away with claiming that racism is no longer a problem in the UK, using the classic racists’ justification phrase “all my black friends” and contradicting himself several times.

Comedy has to have a victim, Davidson said, and in picking people from other races as the victims in his comedy, he was merely celebrating British multiculturalism. He also said that he would have stopped telling racist jokes had people stopped coming to his shows, but then only for financial reasons. And although once during the conversation Paxman told him to stop plugging his play, it was hard to see why else he was there.

Change a few key words in this critique of the Davidson ‘Newsnight’ interview and you’d pretty much come up with what you’d expect an interview with David Cameron on ‘The One Show’ to be like – upbeat and without substance, save for a few superficial nods towards real issues.

And, actually, that was exactly how the Prime Minister’s interview with the BBC’s early evening magazine show on Tuesday went, for the most part. Presumably that’s why Cameron chose to appear on it, under the guise of getting his message out to ‘real’ people, rather than going somewhere he might be asked tricky questions. But credit to former ‘Blue Peter’ presenter Matt Baker, who managed to slip one in.

Right at the end of the interview, and the end of the show, Baker offered one final question: “How on earth do you sleep at night?”

Co-presenter Alex Jones’ sharp intake of breath followed by Cameron’s hastily thought up tips for getting a good night’s sleep have made the clip below one of the highlights of my week. Now Baker’s got a taste for putting the wind up people, I hope he makes a habit of it. And that ‘The One Show’ book Davidson for an interview with him.

Believe it or not, I wrote this for music business website CMU. Oh yes, I did. Click here if you don’t believe me.

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