BACKBITE

Starting the year with my unusual sunny enthusiasm, I thought a few predictions of a positive nature might be in order. With all extremities crossed so that my knack of spotting a trend holds true, here are a few changes that I’m confident we will be seeing in the year ahead.

Starting the year with my unusual sunny enthusiasm, I thought a few

predictions of a positive nature might be in order. With all extremities

crossed so that my knack of spotting a trend holds true, here are a few

changes that I’m confident we will be seeing in the year ahead.



I rub my crystal ball and the picture clears. We’re at the ITV Network

Centre in Grays Inn Road. I see two colleagues, heads bent together over

a marketing proposal, nodding and smiling as they work side by side in

pursuit of a common goal. It’s Martin Bowley and Mick Desmond, allies in

the ITV cause, sharing a joke. In the shadows rivals quake at the

prospect of a united ITV.



Now we’re transported to Long Acre, it’s the end of March. It’s very

hot, there’s a babble of voices, is it excitement or panic? It’s joy -

everyone’s been retuned, half the nation has switched on to watch

Channel 5’s opening night, the phones are jammed by penitent media

buyers desperate for airtime.



Nick Milligan is a hero.



I see sun, sea, sand. It’s the Monte Carlo TV conference. The conference

hall is full to bursting. Senior media figures are debating, resolving,

acting and going to bed before midnight. Meanwhile, at another

conference hall slightly closer to home, the Incorporated Society of

British Advertisers is talking about TV trading.



ISBA is actually making a difference, clients suddenly realise you don’t

get something for nothing and agree to raise remuneration levels. Bob

Wootton is a hero.



But what’s this? My crystal ball must be on the blink. (Damn that C5

retuning man.) This is crazy ...



I see a big door marked exit in a Paddington warehouse - a lingering

whiff of cigarette smoke and a stray tuft of cardigan wool are all that

is left of Christine Walker’s reign. I see a shiny pate, hear the cackle

of an Essex twang, the mists are clearing. It’s Graham Duff as Zenith’s

chief executive.



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