What a bunch of stunts!

Midweek Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

And I shud­der to think of the ef­fect it would have had on Dusty Bin.

To­day, it seems, do­ing time for a vi­o­lent as­sault is no bar to ap­pear­ing on a game show. It’s a pos­i­tive f*ck­ing AS­SET!

Brickie Nathan Hage­man won a cool £1mil­lion on ITV’s Red Or Black — the lat­est project to keep Ant and/or Dec off our streets. He served two-and-ahalf years of a five-year sen­tence for a vi­o­lent crime.

He was re­leased in 2009, so, we’re not talk­ing an­cient his­tory here. It’s hardly “wa­ter un­der the bridge”. His li­cence pe­riod had only just ex­pired when he ap­peared along­side the grin­ning Ge­ordie duo.

The mak­ers of this lat­est abom­i­na­tion say they were fully aware of Hage­man’s crim­i­nal past.

Of course they f*ck­ing were! OK, it emerged yes­ter­day that he’d hit a woman but told them he’d hit a man.

That makes no dif­fer­ence. He’s a thug. I’M sure I can re­call a time when TV quiz show bosses would have been mor­ti­fied to find that the win­ner of their star prize had a se­ri­ous crim­i­nal con­vic­tion.

Ted Rogers would have been hor­ri­fied if he’d handed over a 3-2-1 tum­ble drier (it was never the speed­boat) to a man who’d served a five-stretch for ABH.

I can imag­ine some dopey telly re­searcher called Por­shia or Chlamy­dia or what­ever these soppy tarts call them­selves froth­ing at the clop­per to find a real-life “bad boy” in the lineup for the show. Pay­dirt!

Dig­ging

Hage­man won his £1mil­lion on Satur­day night. By Mon­day morn­ing, his crim­i­nal past was on the front pages.

So this was not a case of some­one recog­nis­ing him, call­ing the pa­pers and hacks dig­ging into his past to con­firm his con­vic­tion. There wasn’t time, es­pe­cially at the week­end.

My guess is the PR per­son from Red Or Black gave the news­pa­pers the full Hage­man story on a plate — com­plete with some care­fully-worded quotes from the brute: home­less, booze, drugs, vul­ner­a­ble two-year-old niece. The full sick­bag.

And the re­sult? Front pages for Red Or Black all round. Acres of pub­lic­ity for the show. Which is the cre­ation of (who else?) Si­mon Cowell, the mas­ter of “all pub­lic­ity’s good pub­lic­ity”.

Well, Mr Cowell — and the rest of the cyn­i­cal shits who work in telly — it’s not “good”. It’s wrong. I know we’re not sup­posed to say things are wrong in these moral­lyneu­tral times, but f*ck it. This is WRONG! A cou­ple of years back there was a shit­storm when some game shows tin­kered with phone votes. This is FAR worse.

A vi­o­lent crim­i­nal was al­lowed to win a mil­lion squid on live TV — with the pro­duc­ers smug in the knowl­edge his bru­tal past would cre­ate col­umn inches for their show.

If Bri­tain’s lead­ing light en­ter­tain­ers can hand a king’s ran­som to a vi­o­lent thug barely out of his pri­son uni­form, without the mer­est blush of shame, things have come to a pretty pass.

May I sug­gest a bit of Cock­ney rhyming slang for those who work in TV?

Pub­lic­ity stunts!

IN his new cal­en­dar, Sir Cliff

Richard poses in leather cow­boy chaps. In­sert your own

punch­line here, folks.

POOR SHOW: Ant and Dec in

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