For several years I was a member of the Northern Ireland Viewers Consultative Council run by the Independent Television Commission (replaced by Ofcom in 2003).
We had men and women, students and pensioners, the unemployed and housebound, who demanded quality television during the day, as well as busy professionals who only had time at the weekends to catch up on their viewing.
At each meeting we would discuss programmes we had been particularly asked to watch and we would also raise issues that caused concern to any of the members (swearing, nudity, too much sport, etc).
On one occasion we met several senior members of UTV, including the managing director, in the boardroom at Havelock House. Slowly but surely the subject of the conversation turned to the ‘antics’ of Julian Simmons.
Before long it transpired that every member of the panel, without exception, found his pre-Coronation Street behaviour to be embarrassing and far from funny.
UTV was urged to do something, but our comments were dismissed out of hand.
“Sure the people like him,” we were told. UTV refused to listen to us.
You can’t say we didn’t try.
DEAF TO CRITICISM