Over £25,000 raised for charity,
a host of cultural events and a good time had by all but for the
national press it is the utterance of one expletive that is the
only thing worthy of comment about the 2003 Bedford Park Festival.
The Peterborough column in the Daily Mail this Thursday finally
got to hear of the slightly off-colour outburst made at the event
by the BBC's John Humphrys, Hammersmith resident.
Living up to his billing as "the
rudest man in Britain", he concluded a tale about an interview
between himself and Tony Blair by telling the crowd gathered to
hear him open the Festival how the P.M's press secretary Alastair
Campbell had uttered the word "W*****!" when the interview
finished. Mr Humphrys remained unclear whether it was him or the
PM whom Mr. Campbell was suggesting had a rather unhealthy specialist
The Roger Melly style speech brought
on looks of amazement from the two hundred or so spectators but
Peterborough's description of Bedford Park's "frailer matriarchs
reaching for the smelling salts" suggests a bit of journalistic
Generally speaking Bedford Park
matriarchs are far from frail and the word used is one you are
likely to hear them shouting at rat-runners on Abinger Road. The
audience's main cause for complaint about the broadcaster's anecdote
was not the language but the fact that most of them had heard
it before. As a significant number of the crowd also worked at
the BBC they were aware that the story was a staple of the Today
presenter's after dinner routine.
Relations between the BBC and the
Prime Minister's Office are at a low over the row concerning the
use of intelligence information in the case for war on Iraq. Mr
Humphrys has been outspoken in his support for the BBC's position
on its coverage of the issue. Some members of the Government were
unhappy to learn that he had received briefings from the head
of MI6 during the war.
The Festival which is organised
every year by St. Michael and All Angels Church was a massive
success this year with some regulars saying it was the best ever.
The organisers are rumoured to be planning to invite Greg Rusedski
to open next year's Festival.