Charity Channel

Guess who’s visiting the canteen this week? Here’s a clue on the right.

All part of Children in Need. Apparently there’ll be a Dalek turning up on Friday which you can pet in return for a donation. I doubt I’ll partake of the offer. I already have a photo of me with a Dalek, and a Cyberman (see top of page), and I have Tom Baker’s autograph. Twice. So I feel no further need to prove my sad fanboy credentials.

CiN is a worthy cause and I will probably donate. But honestly, is it any worthier than … let’s see … cancer research deaf people blind people starving people paraplegic people thalidomide victims forces veterans diseased donkeys? Actually, it is worthier than diseased donkeys but then so are the rest. And where is all the media hoo-hah about them?

What we need is a Charity Channel — non-stop wall to wall 24/7 endless charity broadcasts for those who like this sort of thing. They could still be the slick polished multimedia telethons that we know and love from CiN and Comic Relief — but they wouldn’t forcibly take up an evening’s viewing and no one who didn’t want to would cringe at the sight of worthies like Andrew Marr and Michael Buerk trying to be hip and with it. I mean, Michael Buerk! — the man whose reporting of the Ethiopian famine inspired Band Aid, who was expelled from South Africa for his anti-apartheid reporting … It breaks your heart.

The Charity Channel would be a bit like having a dedicated channel for TV sport — those who want to suffer, I mean watch, can and the rest of us can get on with our lives, giving money where it seems like a good idea. And by the way, does anyone else share my suspicion that a charity which blows its funds on pens and free keyrings may have its priorities wrong?