Something to Say with Keith Newbery: Was I an innocent victim of nameism?

Ever in tune with the increasingly paranoid nature of life in Britain, I’ve been listing the number of ways I could be discriminated against should I ever again attend a job interview.

There are precedents galore, and I’ll certainly be well armed when the ‘thanks but no thanks’ letter drops on the door mat.

Firstly, I’ll scrutinise the missive for a hint of ageism. After all, I’m coming up for 64 and any investment in training would bound to be regarded as hopeful at best and hopeless at worst.

Did the interviewer display heightist tendencies?

Potential employers are bound to be wary of the ergonomic backlash caused by a creaking 6ft 4ins frame being hunched over a desk for eight hours.

Was I an innocent victim of nameism?

The fact is, nobody has been able to take my Christian name seriously since The Chicken Song was first performed on Spitting Image all those years ago.

There is no escape from a number containing the immortal lyric:

‘Paint your left knee green and extract your wisdom teeth,

‘Form a string quartet and pretend your name is Keith.’

There’s always a chance, of course, that I’ve been subjected to rampant birthrightism.

As soon as you tell people you were born on the Isle of Wight they immediately study the bridge of your nose to see whether you have one eyebrow or two, before subconsciously beginning to whistle ‘Duelling Banjos.’

However, having run out of all viable alternatives (no matter how desperate), I may grudgingly have to concede that I didn’t get the job because it went to someone more talented.

And who knows, Anna Ford may one day reach this obvious conclusion rather than wittering on interminably about how advancing years brought a premature end to her life on television.

She has always been extraordinarily reluctant to accept the fact she never had much going for her other than an exceedingly pretty face and a dark, velvety voice which some men found mesmerising.

She got her chance of real journalism during a stint on the Today programme - and was hopelessly out of her depth.

She is no Joan Bakewell, Sue MacGregor or even Jenni Murray – so I wish she would just get over it and give us all a break.


Just when you thought the Eurovision Song Contest was beyond parody, along comes Englebert Humperdinck.

The old boy will be warbling away on our behalf in Azerbaijan – but those who believe this to be the musical equivalent of deliberately hoisting the white flag may end up disappointed.

Englebert may look like a caricature of an old balladeer, but the voice is still serviceable and the song they’ve given him is not without merit.

Of course, he may well be swept aside by the sheer class and immaculate harmonising of the Irish entry, Jedward, but let’s hope for the best.

I look forward to seeing the foundation garments come hurtling through the air as our venerable representative acknowledges the whooping throng.