AND now here's the news ... there isn't any.

I recall my favourite Two Ronnies' sketch where a flustered Ronnie Barker, at his BBC news desk, apologises for the fact that there was no news to read.

He was handed blank bulletins.

So he reads anything to hand, notably the contents of his wallet.

A week ago it looked as though it was happening for real when unflappable anchorman Huw Edwards was captured on camera without any news.

Four minutes of televised uncomfortable silence during News at Ten due to a technical hitch.

It made the news and became a YouTube hit.

In the newspaper industry the summer months were once affectionately called the "silly season" where the tabloids would take a more light-hearted approach to certain stories and celebrities gained even more column inches.

Now, happily, social media looks after all that.

While we all sift through fake news it is, however, worrying that a new trend is emerging.

In America "news fatigue" is spreading.

People are fed up with Trump's style of media-bashing and we here in the UK are feeling the strain of the soft and hard Brexit stories.

It is said "news" comes from the compass points – tales from North, East, West and South - other historians say it's from the French for "new."

We certainly need REAL news in all forms and as much as ever.

Papers such as the Wirral Globe keep communities informed and take the council to task.

News fatigue in any shape or form has to be nipped in the bud.


JUST what were they putting in our water back in 1967?

It was an inspirational year and created so many life-changing events.

Sgt Pepper was one.

Another was the arrival of colour TV on BBC 2.

Up to that point life was so much duller in black and white.

Paul O'Grady recalls that when colour TV came into his Birkenhead home his mum urged him not to watch any old movies as it would look to neighbours as if they couldn't afford a colour telly.

But old habits die hard in our house - my dad would still watch snooker on a black and white portable.

Bizarrely, when The Beatles made their colourful film Magical Mystery Tour the BBC transmitted it in black and white on Boxing Day.

After public outcry they put it out on BBC 2 in colour, but it was still rubbish.

For me, the major breakthrough came in 1969 when Match of the Day came out in colour and I saw Liverpool take on West Ham.

Sales of soccer kits soared.


REX Makin, who died last week, would often phone me and I would call him to discuss our respective newspaper columns.

He would, as fellow journalists have revealed, end each phone call by coldly putting the phone down.

Not so much as a "cheerio."

He was a law unto himself.

So one day after he put the phone down on me I rang him straight back and his secretary put me through to him.

He asked "Did you forget something?" 

"No," I said. "You have though."

And I requested that he could say goodbye in future.

There was silence but he said it.

Every call with me from that moment on would end with a "goodbye."

I rested my case.

I am saddened I will never hear it again.


IF they ever give out Baftas for film critics then Barry Norman should receive the lifetime achievement award.

And why not ... as his Spitting Image puppet would say.

I once spent a wonderful lunch with Barry at the Cinema '87 Brighton Film Festival.

We shared something in common from that meeting 30 years ago, when he said he loved his job because he could sit and watch films in peace.

We critics would see previews during early morning screenings with just a handful of writers there.

"Nobody talking, eating boiled sweets – critics' heaven," he said.

Barry revealed that he would never sit in a cinema with the public again.

A Hollywood legend in his own right.

Peter Grant