Ah good old Michael Fish. Who can forget his remarkably prescient advice, in response to a concerned caller to the BBC, that the UK wasn’t going to be affected by the tail-end of Hurricane Floyd? 12 hours later Britain suffered from the Great Storm of 1987; a mistake almost as bad as that you-sexy-thang hairstyle and dress-sense. My drive to work the next day took me four and a half trees-strewn-in-the-road hours. And then there was the time that, following a heavy overnight snow fall, TV weather girl Ulrikakaka announced proudly the following morning that she ‘had a good 8 inches last night.’ Ah, such insight.
Since then I’ve taken rather less notice of what tv weather forecasters have to say. But here’s the thing, I seem to be increasingly plagued by them. C and I are early risers and, before getting ready in a morning, I tend to watch an hour or so of the news features on TV flitting between BBC 1’s Breakfast programme and its lightweight competitor show, GMTV. Both shows have their weather forecast sections but the length of these and their frequency seem to be increasing daily. There are at least two national weather reports each half hour followed by a summary supplemented by two slightly shorter local/regional reports during the same period. This is on both channels of course; but to make matters worse the timings of the weather features aren’t synchronised. So, if I switch over to avoid it on one channel, within minutes I’m catching the weather update on the other channel. I reckon I must watch at least 40 bloody minutes of weather forecasting during an hour of so-called news coverage. And it’s not as if our weather changes dramatically every 5 minutes is it? Actually in Scotland it does, but you know what I mean. I reckon if they simply forecast ‘scattererd showers’ they’d be right 80% of the time anyway.
Now, whilst I’m largely disinterested in their meteorological musings (a quick look at the morning sky normally offers all the clues I need to gauge the forthcoming weather) I am a little intrigued however by some of the personalities involved and the recruitment policies of the main channels. From earlier postings you’ll be unsurprised to learn that the Italian broadcasters insist on 3 essential criteria: candidates of both sexes must demonstrate that they are knock-out, sexy, women. Simples. Trust me, Ian MacCaskill would never make it in front of a weather map of Italy on Sr Berlusconi’s Mediaset channels. Wearing clothes.
The BBC’s selection policy seems to be based on an entirely different set of criteria: mumsy, frumpy or camp Freddy. I’m not naming names because that would be hurtful (and it’s more fun to challenge you to connect the dots) but I will add that Laura Tobin is excused such crass labelling.
Over on ITV things are a little more obvious. I think diddy Clare Nasir was selected for her bubbly personality. She brings a lot of theatricality to her presentations but these days we can’t read a paper without seeing her cellulite and post-baby jelly belly on full display. How dare the press snap her whilst exercising in a skimpy two piece with her personal trainer in a public park. Talk about an invasion of personal space.
Her relief colleague Kirsty has an impenetrable Scottish accent and wears just a little too much make-up. It’s hard to focus on her forecasting to be honest. Her speciality is filing reports from some interesting venue – the seaside, Wimbledon etc. I did notice that at this year’s Royal Ascot she wore not one but two outrageous outfits in the space of 30 minutes. What’s that got to do with explaining the weather? As for ITV’s weather boys, well they all have oddly-spelt names like Robyn or Darryn and very toothy smiles. They all look like frustrated actors desperate to catch the eye of some casting director. Let’s hope they succeed.
Of all the weather presenters on UK TV I have the highest regard for SKY’s Lucy Verasamy. She clearly knows her meteorology, has an engaging and interesting presentation style and she looks good too. I know, I know I’m so predictable but it’s just started raining cats and dogs. A scattered shower? Who could’ve predicted that?