As amusing as it may be to see Christian Democrat and Labour MPs falling over each other to defend the rights of elderly viewers, their furious reaction to the plans to scrap popular quiz programme Lingo (see Friday’s DutchNews) does make you wonder whether our public representatives might not be more gainfully occupied helping to dig the tunnels and build the new road and rail links they keep voting to give us.
Even the prime minister himself expressed his sympathy for the poor voters – sorry, people – who are likely to be deprived of their early evening entertainment. Although he did seem more upset that he would no longer be able to see the show’s glamorous presenter Lucille Werner. The show’s most vociferous supporter, CDA MP Joop Atsma, was keen to point out that its popularity was not confined to the elderly. It also attracted viewers from among ethnic minorities, the less educated and children – everyone, in fact, who is not a white middle-class programming coordinator. And after the publicity storm broke on Friday, that evening’s edition of Lingo managed to attract 900,000 viewers, over 100,000 more than on a regular night. The producers behind more worthy public-funded tv shows, such as nightly current affairs show Nova, must be green with envy.