DIARY: Durden fails to defeat diversions of free bar and a revenge attack

As if to prove that the station was no longer "risk averse", Channel 4's commercial director, Andy Barnes, "bravely" roped in PHD's Jonathan Durden as his stooge for the launch of the 2003 schedule at the channel's recent party.

Durden, who is known for his planning rather than acting ability, floundered under the poor script as he sheepishly had to hold up idiot boards extolling Channel 4's virtues to the assembled crowd of time buyers, most of whom were clearly more interested in finding out when the free bar reopened.

By the time Channel 4's chief executive, Mark Thompson, had got up to deliver his speech (which, incidentally, included a rather nice joke about the size of Nick Milligan's bonus), most of the party were too busy chatting or watching Walker Media's Christine Walker - aka Christine Hamilton (see previous Diary) - throwing wine over a certain Campaign reporter to notice whether Durden would be used again to fill the "creative deficit at the heart of television".

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