Dave…Not His Real Name

I’ve made it pretty clear in the past how I feel about the increasing dumbing down of the once great BBC News presentation – the silly pointless live linkups etc.

One other thing that’s getting on my goat is the way the news deals with people who wish to retain their anonymity. Often these people are filmed from behind, in shadow or without the camera pointing anywhere near their head.

So far so good. But what’s really odd and rather irritating is how these people are given a name. For some reason, “This man, who wishes to remain anonymous told us…” isn’t good enough.

Instead the reporter usually says something like, “We spoke to Dave…not his real name…about his experience…”

Why? Why? Why? What is the point in giving this silhouette a name for the sake of a few seconds of screen time. Often the name is never mentioned again anyway – the only time is in the “Not his real name” bit.

Not his real name? Then don’t bloody call it him. Or at least make it more interesting. “We spoke to a survivor of the abuse scandal at the care home, now an adult The Great Prophet Zarquon…not his real name…told us of his experience in the 1970s…”

And while we’re at it what in God’s name is Davina McCall wittering about in her new charity advert. This time she not only invents a name for someone I doubt the person exists at all – the script of the advert is bizarre.

“Take Tom, he suffered years of abuse…” or something like that. She just starts talking about this Tom. There’s no qualifying evidence, there’s no sense this is a real person she’s talking about, it’s like she’s telling a parable or something – yet at the same time asking for money to help this poor child Tom.

Now I’ve nothing against the work of the charity – but like many these days they are in the game of making mawkish fake abuse films or sad dirty children in black and white to try and emotionally blackmail viewers out of money. Oh yeah, exactly how will my £2 a month stop a parent abusing their child, really? The odd thing about this new Davina begging commercial is that there’s no black and white movie, instead she just starts talking about this Tom who clearly doesn’t exist.

It comes across as a child explaining why they having done their homework and mid explanation launching into, “Er…take Bob, he’s a chinchilla, and he jumped out of a tree and made an origami unicorn out of my essay.”

Just stop it, all of you.

Harry…not his real name.