Yesterday, the rather wonderful Tracey Macleod wrote in the Guardian about the experience of working with Michael Gove on the early 1990s Channel 4 satire show A Stab in the Dark. Understandably, it was traumatic. Hell, it was harrowing enough being a viewer, watching agog as nearly every line failed to get any sort of reaction from the audience. It was one of those shows where the best bit was the scenery. To this day, I can still whistle it.
Although then just an obscure Pob-faced hack, Gove was already a chilling presence. The assured manner with which this baby halibut delivered absolutely terrible material indicated a man who was capable of anything, little of it good. Self-written too, and I think it’s decent of him to take the blame.
If A Stab in the Dark was TW3 for the 1990s, Gove fancied himself as the Bernard Levin of the exercise. It’s something of a surprise that nobody got up from the audience to lamp Gove. The trouble was that, while Levin could be a terrible reactionary old crosspatch, he was a genuinely funny writer. Admittedly the format didn’t let anyone involved shine, not least the splendid David Baddiel, whose career thankfully wasn’t affected permanently.
There has been precious little of Gove’s TV career available for public consumption. Until now. I am happy to present all of Michael Gove’s contributions to what one of his fellow presenters described as “easily the worst thing” she had done in her whole career. Sit back and gawp as a man aiming to become Prime Minister delivers zingers and bofforoonies (© D Paradine Frost) about hardcore animal pornography.