Margate proved to be the fly in the BBC's candy floss earlier today, as the corporation's news wallahs tried to whip up some fluff about tourists flocking to Blighty this year.
The One O'Clock News went live from the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site, teeming with visitors from every part of the globe, then threw live to poor old Louisa Baldini standing by Mannings whelk stall next to Droit House, a lone, topless pitbull tugger lounging on the concrete behind her. Having given us some blurb about things picking up, Louisa proceeded to interview Valerie on the stall, who clearly hadn't been briefed. 'Business is down by about a half this year,' moaned Val. 'If people are holidaying in Britain, they ain't coming to Margate.'
Still, at least the BBC are flocking to the Arsonist's Playground, even if the tourists aren't. After Huge Pym's report on Margate, The Country's Most Closed Down Town last week, and Louisa's live two-way today, on Friday the team from Radio 4's Any Questions will be gassing off in the Mike and Bernie Winter Gardens. Unfortunately regular host Jonathan Dimbleby (or 'The Wrong Dimbleby' as we used to call him at ITV... as in 'We signed the wrong Dimbleby') can't make it, so presentorial duties will be down to Radio 4's Charlie Chuckles de nos jours, Eddie Mair. Interestingly the panel will include John Kampfner who's being billed as the chief exec of the Index on Censorship, but who is better known in these parts as the Head Turnip, sitting as he does at the front of the Turner Contemporary gravy train.
Of course, the only reason it's being held in Margate is because the council has willfully dilapidated any sizeable venue here in the island's capital, Ramsgate. I understand the panel aren't taking any chances with their pre-gig dinner, though, which is being held at East Kent's foremost eatery Age & Sons, right here in the Millionaires' Playground!
Watch on iPlayer (available until tomorrow lunchtime, 22'35" in)
Any Questions at the Mike and Bernie Winter Gardens