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TV Donkeys

50 worst decisions ever

The list is stolen from The Sun, itemising the so-called "50 worst decisions ever" dreamed up for a Sky TV show on this subject presented by, er, Angus Deayton. The comments are mine.

As you might expect, it's an odd list with some eccentric choices.

1. Jeweller Gerald Ratner committing commercial suicide by saying a decanter and glasses he sold for £4.99 were “total crap.”
Agreed. Not a clever thing to say.

2. Civil servant Jo Moore sending a cynical e-mail saying the World Trade Center terrorist attacks made September 11 a good day to bury bad news. She later lost her job.
A mistake, but why is this at no. 2?

3. Prince Edward involving his dysfunctional family in It’s A Royal Knockout.
I reckon the rot set in when they did that 'Royal Family' documentary several years earlier.

4. The decision to build the white elephant known as the Millennium Dome.
Agreed. Why do governments do stuff like that?

5. Coca Cola marketing Dasani “as pure as bottled water gets” in the UK. It was simply treated mains water from Sidcup.
Well, marketing people do this all the time. As we know, similar products are very successful in the USA and Hong Kong

6. Anthea Turner and Grant Bovey posing for wedding snaps while eating Cadbury Snowflake chocolate bars.
No idea, sorry.

7. Hoover’s “free flights” promotion which ended up costing them £48million.
Yes. It turned into a PR disaster and Hoover ended up being taken over.

8. The NINE publishing firms who rejected JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book.
Yes, but how many new writers haven't been rejected several times?

9. Cherie Blair involving conman Peter Foster in buying a flat for her son Euan.
Sounds like a lot of fuss about nothing.

10. David Beckham texting obscene messages to assistant Rebecca Loos.
Well, it doesn't seem to have done him much harm.

11. Barings for trusting employee Nick Leeson. His dealings broke the bank.
Yes, and we all feel sad when merchant bankers suffer.

12. The Mirror publishing faked Iraqi torture photos which led to the sacking of the editor Piers Morgan.

13. ITV Digital offering to pay a fortune for non-Premiership football, then pulling out of the deal, leaving clubs destitute.
Agreed. ITV Digital folded not long after this.

14. Jeffrey Archer perjuring himself at a libel trial and later going to jail.
Now that was funny.

15. The Sunday Times running diaries falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler.
Agreed. Madness!

16. Neil Kinnock hailing a Labour election win in 1992. They lost.

17. Jonathan Aitken’s perjury at a libel trial that got him jailed.
He lied because otherwise he'd have lost the case. His mistake was bringing the case in the first place (though he very nearly got away with it).

18. US TV host Martha Stewart for insider dealing on shares. She was jailed for five months.
Possibly, but people are doing stuff like this all the time.

19. Wacko Jacko dangling his baby over a hotel balcony.

20. Claire Swire sending lewd e-mail to a boyfriend that went around the world.

21. England manager Glenn Hoddle saying that disabled people were being punished for sins in previous lives. It cost him his job.

22. Jockey Lester Piggott being too mean to pay his taxes, landing him in prison.

23. Hugh Grant inviting prostitute Divine Brown into his car in Hollywood’s Sunset Strip.
As with Beckham, it didn't seem to have particularly serious consequences for him. I thought his performance on Letterman was a masterpiece.

24. Ron Atkinson’s racist comments which cost him his job as a footie pundit.

25. Yahoo turning down a chance to buy rival Google in its early days.

26. Footballer Rio Ferdinand missing a drugs test, which led to an eight-month ban.
Yes. What was that all about.

27. Record company boss Sam Phillips “selling” Elvis to RCA for a paltry $35,000.

28. Lord Derry Irvine spending £650,000 of taxpayers’ money to redecorate his flat.

29. Actress Leslie Ash having her lips “enhanced” and gaining a trout pout.
Another one I missed

30. Manager Allan Williams washing his hands of The Beatles just before they hit the big time.
Well, I suppose there had to be a Beatles one.

31. Barclays bank chief executive Matt Barrett saying that credit cards were too expensive.
What he said was true (that paying interest was expensive) and I don't people have stopped using Barclaycard as a result.

32. Fire union boss Andy Gilchrist spending £800 on his union credit card for a curry meal.

33. John Wayne Bobbitt cheating on his knife-wielding wife, who exacted revenge by chopping off his willy.

34. Freakish US socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein’s £2million plastic surgery.

35. Justin Timberlake “accidentally” exposing Janet Jackson’s nipple live at the Superbowl.

36. Holding Miss World in mainly Muslim Nigeria, causing riots that caused the deaths of more than 100 protesters.
Yes, that was stupid, but actually it got the event more publicity.

37. Kids’ television presenter Jamie Theakston visiting a bondage dungeon.
Again, it doesn't seem to have harmed his career. I think. Actually, I'm not even sure who he is!

38. TV commentator David Icke then claiming that he was the Son of God.
He did quite well out of it!

39. EastEnders star Leslie Grantham playing with himself on the Internet.

40. Singer George Michael soliciting a cop in a Los Angeles lavatory.

41. Super-slim models Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Elle Macpherson launching Fashion Cafe.

42. Brian Harvey of East 17 supporting ecstasy-taking. The band sacked him.

43. Government minister Peter Mandelson lying about a mortgage.

44. The New York Times for accepting fake stories from journalist Jayson Blair.

45. ITV axeing Men Behaving Badly, which became a massive BBC hit.
ITV intended it as a vehicle for Harry Enfield, who dropped out after the first series. ITV probably didn't want to break their long and distinguished record of having rubbish comedy programmes.

46. Former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies claiming to be looking for badgers when caught with a gay builder in a wood.

47. Not-so-mobile Rabbit phones that needed users to be standing beside their hard-to-find transmitters.
Ah, Li Ka-Shing. I thought everyone had forgotten about them!

48. Chris Evans oversleeping and missing his Virgin radio show and being sacked.
Well, possibly, but I think he wanted to be sacked.

49. Kay and Martyn Tott losing their £3million Lotto ticket.

50. Tecwen Whittock’s coughing fit to prompt cheat Major Charles Ingram to win £1million on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
Actually, the mistake was Ingram's in being so greedy. He could probably have got away it if he had won less money!


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Tom - Daai Tou Laam

Hmmm... very British. Not a mention of the sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees for example.


Very British, and also heavily biased towards things that happened in the last few years.

If we're on sport, there's no mention of Leeds selling Eric Cantona to Manchester United.



The price for Elvis's contract was $35,000 plus $5,000 representing the waiver of back-royalties payable to Elvis. There was also a $6,000 signing bonus for Elvis, from which Col. Tom Parker took his 25% commission.

Even at $35,000, the price was 40% higher than the previous record for the purchase of a recording contract.

Other factors were that (a) Sam Phillips was in desparate financial straits at the time and (b) he also did not want to be known as a one-artist company and hence needed funds to develop his other singers.


I'm still chucking at Piers Morgan's sacking from the Mirror...that slimey little toerag deserved everything he got by getting too over excited...And don't get me started on Glen Hoddle

Anthea Turner's scandal was that Cadbury paid for her fabulous *coughchavtasticcough* wedding, in exchange for some free advertising. It was cheap, it was sad, and it lowered everyone's opinions of the 'Golden Girl' Anthea. Though it didn't need to be that high

Jo Moore desreves to be at number 2 for being a heartless, work-obsessed bitch. Instead of getting upset that innocent people died she wanted to post as much bad (if trivial) news as possible behind the cover story of 9/11. It proved that the media industry is about getting a good story and balancing out stories rather than about the lives and deaths of real people.

The Rio Ferdinand thing was so trivial though ¬¬


Interesting programme. Unfortunately, the producers should have taken more care in their selectiion of the "self-opinionated" comments, especially from frumpy Julia Hartley-Brewer. Her comments regarding Neil Kinnock were personally abusive and plainly racist. We may see you in court Julia. "He is bald and ginger but, worse than that, he's a Welshman " were her comments! Unbelievable twaddle. Some people will do anything to attract attention to themselves. What a loudmouth, bigotted racist she is. Worse than that she is not Welsh. By the way, you've guessed it, I am a balding, ginger-haired Welshman. Worse still, I am very angry.

Harry Cichy

11. The Infamous Hoover Free Flight Promotion & who ever thought it up. 'Cock Up'. Cost to Hoover £48. Million & years of Litigation. In the End Maytag the owners & parent company, sold Hoover Europe at a knock down price.

Harry Cichy

12. Ryanair Free Flight offer 5 Million seats * you pay suppliements. Taxes,fees,charges. How can that be a 'Free Flight'. This is a clear breach of the Advertising Standards Authority CAP Code. Complaints should be sent to the ASA. Another Hoover you ask, only time will tell. Over to you Michael O'Leary head 'Honcho' & CEO at Ryanair.

Harry Cichy

BA Terminal Five what a 'Mess' and another 'Great British' Cock Up. It cost Billions & they still could not get is right. Passengers bags piled up, bags flying to Italy to be sorted and courierd back to the UK. Willie sort it out! Your reputaion & the BA 'Brand' is at stake.

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