Adrian… er, Adrian Chiles…uh…gives…. er, gives… uh… pause for… uh…thought
PAUSE for thought?
Hello… and… uh… welcome to… er….welcome to… uh… this… uh… article… in which we, er…. will be… uh… touching… on… an issue which… er, which is… uh… becoming increasingly prevalent in… the…uh… in the… broadcast… media.
Listen to Radio 4’s Today or PM flagship current affairs programmes and you will hear the mellifluous Scottish tones of two presenters in an increasingly intensive competition to break the world record for dead air by the simple expedient of… pausing… between… almost every… other… word.
But this phenomenon is nothing to do with uncertainty, or nervousness, or an inability to string two words together. These are assured, experienced, eloquent, senior journalists.
So why do they do it?
My theory is that this affectation – and make no mistake, that is what it is – is actually intended to indicate the opposite of confusion and bluster. Instead, it seeks to convey calmness, confidence and insouciance.
It contrives to create the impression of an assured presence in the eye of the hurricane: a man who is being bombarded with world-shattering information on any number of different subjects through their earpiece, but is on top of it all. It’s a no-nonsense, rolled-up-sleeves style – the mark of a real journalist, and not some smooth puppet-like ‘presenter’.
But nobody used to do this – least of all the self-assured front-men, who could speak for hours on end without who are perfectly capable of speaking without hesitation or repetition, or even pausing for breath.
So who started this peculiar trend?
My money is on the ITV football anchor, Adrian…uh…er, Adrian…uh… Chiles.
Chiles started out as the personable host of the BBC’s daytime business show Working Lunch. In those days his delivery was completely normal, as this ancient clip demonstrates…
Somewhere along the line, he reinvented himself as Official West Brom Fan and Professional Everyman Adrian Chiles, and created a whole new way to mangle the English language.
Before long, everyone was at it – that’s ‘progress’ for you.
But now that the pack has caught up, Adrian has toned it down.
His new schtick is playful homo-eroticism.
There was an awkward period of transition, when Roy Keane joined the ITV team, looking on with disdain as Adrian cavorted alongside him. One more over-familiar touch of the arm, one felt, might tip Roy over the edge.
Now he is gone, Chiles has gone the whole metrosexual hog.
See Adrian flirt with his panel of pundits!
See him fawn at the feet of Fabio Cannavaro, praising his good looks at every opportunity!
Marvel as he invokes the miraculous power of ‘man-hugs’!
Gasp as he coquettishly proposes ‘a wrestling match with Gary Lineker on the beach in our budgie-smugglers’!
Cringe as Martin O’Neill tentatively joins in, dressed in his Marks and Spenser holiday clothes and looking like a nervous accountant at a swingers party!
And sympathise with Lee Dixon as he attempts to maintain a sense of dignity, sticking doggedly to his defiant football-based agenda.
What next for Adrian? A makeover show? A West End Musical?
Let’s hope a good friend sits him down and has a word. He’s not a bad lad, after all, and he used to be a decent TV presenter.
All is not yet lost, but… uh… up with… er, up with this… uh…we… uh… will… not…uh… put… uh…for much… er, for much longer.
The Angry Red Tomato