Thursday, July 29, 2010

Paul Yarrow, News Raider

Oh, the cheekiness of the British.

Or at least of Paul Yarrow, 42, a self-confessed “unsightly” man who, this year alone, has managed to get himself into background shots of British TV news shows at least one hundred times, each time in a rumpled white turtleneck – a fashion no-no for tubbies like he and I – and wild, Art Garfunkel hair.

Why does he do it? He’s striking a blow, he says, for unsightly people everywhere.

Here’s what the Daily Mail got out of him:
His TV appearances are designed to strike a blow for the ordinary-looking man in the street.

There are too many beautiful people on television, he argues. The people who run television companies are happy to put blonde lovelies on air but seem curiously averse to filling the screen with balding fat men in wrinkled white sweaters.

And it has to change.

‘It’s a serious issue and I’m trying to make a statement: “Be who you are.” I’m just a common person in the street,’ says Yarrow.

‘People say we live in a fairer, more understanding society these days, but elderly and overweight people still get pushed aside. The camera crews try to move me out of the way but I’m a human being.’

‘I don’t do it to be funny. I’m quite a serious person really but I’m quite unsightly and that makes some people laugh.’

What I appreciate about Yarrow’s approach is that he’s not going for the cheap showiness. He keeps his props extremely low-key, though I’ve got to admit the little grocery trolley is pretty hilarious. He’s there just to be seen, and I love it.

I hope, however, that the stiffs in the news don’t try to shoo him away or call the police on him now that he’s garnered some international celebrity. Here’s a tip to the BBC, SkyNews, and others. This man could be a ratings gold mine for you. People all over the world will tune into your news (thank HEAVEN I can watch this stuff on the Internet now; finally finding some utility in watching the BBC news) so they can spot this guy. He could singlehandedly bring you all to the top of the 24-hour news heap.

And reporters – you could all consider him to be your Paul the Psychic Octopus. If he shows up in your news footage, you know it’s going to be a good story with a good, long shelf-life. So, talking heads, be kind to Mr. Yarrow.

And Mr. Yarrow, please continue striking blows for unsightly men. You are my hero.

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