Monday, January 18, 2010

David Dimbleby was a member of the Bullingdon Club

In the early days of this blog I wrote of David Dimbleby:
He is a public school boy of no great imagination or ability, projected on to the national stage by television fame and family connections.
A profile of Dimbleby published in the Observer last October suggests this was more true than I realised.

Written by James Robinson, it says of Dimbleby:
He attended private schools in Surrey, including Charterhouse, and studied at Oxford, graduating with a third-class degree. He joined the notorious Bullingdon Club, many years before David Cameron's membership brought the elite drinking fraternity to the attention of the wider public.
You can't get much more public school than the Bullingdon. And "no great imagination or ability"? Emerging from the best education his father's money could buy with a third suggests that Dimbleby is indeed not the brightest light in the studio.

I wouldn't mind, but Dimbleby shows no signs of going away. The BBC recently announced that he would be their interviewer in the leaders' debates at the general election.

At least he and David Cameron will have something to talk about.


Anonymous said...

Yes, as per the Dully Tele some years back.

On Desert Island Disks (Kirsty Young in admiration of her august guest) he volunteered that he had had quite a good time at Oxford but neglected to own to the Bullers.

Another member was the convicted fraudster Darius Guppy, best mate of Bozo Bojo at Oxford and confidant re a proposed beating for an inquisitive journo.

Guppy was also a member of the Piers Gaveston, whose 10 members reputedly organise public orgies in which many prostitutes are paid to take part.

When fellow Bullingdon Geo Osborne says he is embarrassed about the toff's clothes they wore on their nights out in those days he only begins to approach the truth on their undergraduate days.

No wonder the PR conscious Chameleon left after his first two years of the Bullingdon, and the pic of him and Osborne in their frock coats (?) was bought for hundreds of thousands of pounds to be hidden away we are told.

Max Atkinson said...

My reaction to the BBC's selection of David Dimbleby as TV debate host was a yawn, as I've been moaning for some time about the way his arrival at Question TIme made the programme less watchable than it used to be - see

Hardly any wonder that, when trailing the new series of QT on the BBC website, they did so with some hilarious video clips of Robin Day on top form ( Nor can you imagine any current satirists doing as brilliant an impersonation of Dimbleby as could be done of Day:

I can't imagine why they didn't go for Paxman, or even Jonathan Dimbleby. Reading between the lines, it seems the felt that DD deserved it because he'd waited and yearned for it for so long - i.e. about as rational a decision as letting Gordon Brown become Labour leader and PM for the same reason!

Oranjepan said...

I'm not sure that the level of degree is an accurate measure of intelligence alone, rather than a willingness to study.

Nor am I sure it's fair, wise or opportune to attack Dimbleby's studied impartiality, when it amounts to presumption about his voting tendencies, which exposes a desire to flatter your own biases.

Windsor is a peculiar constituency, and the last time I had a look at the register I noted he was a non-voter.

So while Dimbleby may not be all that open about his background, I think he must be complimented on his intelligence to recognise how it is percieved as informing his opinions and therefore to do something about counteracting those perceptions without egotistically making a direct challenge to them.

The identity of the host of the leadership debate should be completely irrelevant to the ability of the leaders to be effective at getting their messages across, so it strikes me as petty and naive to make a general criticism of this sort - now if you had a specific criticism that'd be a different matter.

I for one remember being extremely turned off by Robin Day's explicit partisanship, entertaining TV though it made, and I'm dubious about claims of his overall helpfulness because he did little to discourage his ability to divide opinion on him. As it continued it became much more of the parodic 'Robin Day Show' than QT.

By contrast Dimbleby's performances have not strayed beyond the line of acceptability, even when they could have, such as in the Griffin episode.

I also think it highlights a blindspot to criticise one of the three hosts alone, as this fails to recognise the overall balance that will be provided (why not show even-handedness and criticise Adam Boulton's widely perceived Labour sympathies?).

...I'll stop before I go into essay mode on the difference between partisanship and factionalism.

dreamingspire said...

Getting a third at Oxford in his day required extreme skill or some other attribute - not many people managed to hit just the right spot.

Lina D said...

"Windsor is a peculiar constituency, and the last time I had a look at the register I noted he was a non-voter"

Firstly, DD doesn't live within the Windsor constituency and, I suspect he has exercised his right to be removed from the Electoral Roll on the grounds of privacy - you may have seen the edited Roll.