Jonathan Ross’ fall from grace and favour has parallels with his alter ego, Oscar Wilde!!

July 17, 2010

As Jonathan Ross took his leave of the stage for the final time on his BBC1 chatshow last night, I thought at least there is one final Radio Two show tomorrow morning. For me, as entertaining as his TV appearances have been, his natural habitat has always been radio. From now on, there will be a massive void on a Saturday morning where there was once wit and warmth, humour and imagination.

Jonathan Ross is a rare breed of broadcaster. I never felt that the medium of television did his talents full justice: he always seemed slightly stilted, heavily scripted and generally a little ill at ease. However radio, commonly referred to as the “Theatre of the Mind”, gave him the perfect vehicle to fully exercise his marvelous imagination and voluminous streams of consciousness. Ross is a natural raconteur, and radio unlike television gives you the licence to tell a story. His mastery of the English language, combined with his ability to weave a witty yarn really do make him the contemporary Oscar Wilde: exemplified by his physical appearance; the foppish hair, the sartorial elegance with the dapper suits all add to the image of a modern day “Dandy”!! In an earlier blog article, I suggested that he would dovetail perfectly into the role of Dr Who. However his work on Earth as a chatshow host is not done yet, as he will be returning to ITV next year.

There are further parallels with Oscar Wilde: Ross’ fall from grace and favour, and journey from “Darling of the public” to “Demon of the establishment” in a few short years, mirror the tragic decline and fall of the Victorian playwright. Two of Wilde’s quotes strike a resonance: “A good friend will always stab you in the front” and “Everything popular is wrong”. Like Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Ross was stabbed in the back by enemies in the media industry who were envious and jealous of his popularity, and ¬£18 million contract. Like Wilde, the public never tired of his anarchic, rebellious cheekiness, wit and humour. Why is it we destroy the things we love the most?

The Russell Brand / Sachsgate saga provided the media establishment with the loaded gun they were looking for. As ill advised as it was, the episode did not warrant the villification that followed in the media. Uniquely, the hypocritical media in this country build a pedestal for our icons, before dismantling it. Jonathan Ross was portrayed in the media as a greedy, egotistical lout, who had grown too big for his BBC boots. Well, I follow the man on Twitter and the impression that I get is that he is fundamentally a modest, kind, family man, who primarily tweets as a proud father and husband to acknowledge the achievements of his children and his wife Jane Goldman, a successful Hollywood film scriptwriter. There is no malice in the man, and little evidence of a showbizzy ego. On the contrary he comes across as very grounded, at ease with himself  and self deprecating!!

Oscar Wilde once said: “There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about”. Well Jonathan Ross will be talked about for a long time to come, because he has a brilliant talent for talking, and I look forward to his talk show on ITV in 2011.

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