Creative free expression

Rowan Atkinson is in the papers. He’s 57. He says the BBC shouldn’t have to employ middle-aged women as TV presenters if they don’t want to because it’s an attack on ‘creative free expression’.

Personally, I always get a little worried when people start defending bad behaviour on the grounds of creative free expression. It feels a little dated. Like rock stars throwing furniture out of London hotels.

Literature, art and music are littered with examples of sex-obsessed drunken bankrupts who spread misery, discord and mayhem wherever they went before dying horribly early of syphilis or cirrhosis of the liver.

But while we celebrate the art they produced, we can’t help but be horrified by the attendant misdemeanours.  When I look at Van Gogh’s painting of sunflowers, for example, I try to forget that he chopped off his ear because he was obsessed with a prostitute. I don’t like to remember that Shelley was a drug addict or that Dickens found fidelity impossible.

So if the BBC, in creatively expressing its dislike of grey hair and wrinkles on any TV presenter who happens to be a woman, believes that bad behaviour goes hand in hand with artistic endeavour, I would beg to disagree.

The BBC must uphold standards. It must be above reproach. Like Marks and Spencer.

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