Mrs Grumble became deeply depressed, a couple of days back. We can blame the mandarins at TVNZ for her condition. The deranged bastards in charge of programming have decided to break the habit of a lifetime and switch the screening time for Coronation Street.
They have done what? her ever-loving husband asked.
They are moving Coro Street from its usual 7.30pm slot on Tuesdays and Thursdays to 5.30pm, she reiterated.
And then came the vituperative demand: “What is your bloody government going to do about it?”
We can put her very rare use of the word “bloody” down to her deep and palpable anguish.
But she had a point.
TVNZ is state-owned.
We Nats are running the government these days – and will be for the next several years, on the strength of the opinion polls.
So why not some good old-fashioned Muldoonist ministerial intervention?
Yep, Muldoonism has become a dirty word in National circles.
But it has its place in some crises, and this is one of them.
Mind you, Alf wouldn’t expect that Coleman tosser to have the gumption to intervene on a matter that surely must amount to a national emergency.
So Alf went to the top. To the PM.
Dunno what the PM will do by way of instructing Coleman to instruct TVNZ bosses to get real.
But it should be noted today that –
Prime Minister John Key has joined thousands of Coronation Street fans calling for the show to remain in its 7.30pm viewing slot.
Key – it turns out – is a natural broadcaster.
He took to the airwaves on RadioLive yesterday to host what he described as “the inaugural Prime Minister’s hour” – an election-free zone.
Alf must confess he was not tuned in – he was engaged in a robust argument at the Eketahuna Club about the implications of the downgrading of NZ’s credit rating.
If it hadn’t been the credit rating, the robust argument would have been about the world economic crisis, the death of a New Zealand SAS soldier or the price of milk.
But during the Prime Minister’s hour on RadioLive, the crumbling economy remained off-limits. Mr Key talked cats and hobbits, and interviewed some of his “favourite” figures, including Virgin Group chief Sir Richard Branson, All Black captain Richie McCaw, The Hobbit director Sir Peter Jackson and Warriors man of the moment Lewis Brown.
And the Prime Minister declared the time-slot-troubled British soap Coronation Street “worth saving”.
As the Herald recalls this morning, TVNZ has come under fire this week for its decision to start screening the show two hours earlier from October 17 and replace it with MasterChef Australia.
An online petition aiming to stop the change had gathered 4484 signatures, when the Herald counted (although this strikes Alf as being a curiously low number, presumably explained by the fact that Coro Street fans are so depressed they have taken to their beds).
No matter. The question of the week, he declared, asked if he could save Coronation Street.
The Prime Minister indicated, possibly tongue in cheek, that he would come to the rescue of the long-running show.
“I’m going to speak to someone important enough to see whether that can happen.”
He doesn’t watch it, apparently – an admission that might cost him a few votes. But as he reminded RadioLive host Paul Henry – when he’s not playing DJ, he’s got a nation to run.
But he did say he grew up watching Coronation Street and would probably be “carted out watching Coro”.
The tossers at TVNZ – in a media statement – simply huffed that “the Prime Minister is entitled to his personal opinion”.
The buggers should be sacked.
If Alf was Minister of Broadcasting, they would be.