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Chris Patten’s BBC Christmas Carol Part One

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 22 December 2013

It was the night before Christmas and BBC Chairman Lord Christopher Patten lay in his grand four poster bed in his Country Estate, sleeping, but only fitfully.

Turning over to the left, he looked longingly at the bedside photo of his pet dog Chow Mein which disappeared mysteriously when he was in charge of Hong Kong.

Running Honkers, a European Commissioner and now in charge of the BBC, what a glorious career he had enjoyed, Patten thought to himself. Gosh I have done well.

But as he smiled with contentment Patten was startled so see a grey figure appear next to him at the bedside. The grey figure did not look particularly happy.

“I say” said Patten, “what are you doing here my good fellow? Are you one of those consultant Johnnies we employ at the Beeb. Look I know that you are on £1,000 an hour but is it not time to call it a day?”

The grey figure said nothing but beckoned to Patten to rise. Used to doing exactly what the consultant Johnnies told him to do Patten obeyed and did not object as the grey figure gripped him firmly by the hand.

Suddenly the two men were flying through the air. They passed over a small graveyard where Patten saw the familiar tombstone of Lord Reith. He wondered what the spinning sound from within the grave was, but there was no time to ponder as the grey figure dragged him onwards at ever greater speed.

Gently whispering to a visibly frightened Patten “I am the ghost of Christmas Past” the corpulent Lord all of a sudden found himself in a bright TV studio “Welcome to our review of the BBC highlights of 1978” said the presenter. Patten felt at home back in the bosom of the Beeb and started to relax as the presenter reeled off a list of films that had premiered on BBC that year. The good Lord thought the films sounded vaguely familiar and Pattern found himself thinking about what BBC1 would be serving up over the Yuletide season in 2013

Then the big names arrived in the Studio. Up popped Stuart Hall encouraging us all to play our joker. It’s a knockout said Hall as he made his excuses and left with a young girl he claimed to be his niece. Patten winced.

“Now then, now then, now then let’s all be having you” boomed across the studio, Jim’ll fix it. The camera cut across to a grey haired man in a tracksuit with a cigar in his mouth and two young girls squirming uncomfortably on his knees.

Patten turned whiter than the sprinklings on Nigella’s kitchen table and bolted through the studio door into a corridor where in his blind panic he bumped into Dave Lee Travis and Rolf Harris who were swapping holiday snaps and laughing.

“But we had a full private cover up, I mean enquiry, no-one knew anything, and even if they did I did not know anything and someone else gagged our reporters and it was all a long time ago anyway” he screamed at the ghost of Christmas Past. “Look I’m a celebrity get me out of here” he pleaded.

The Ghost of Christmas Past smiled, saying “I’m a celebrity is on ITV, it actually has some viewers.” And suddenly Patten was back in his bed, once again gazing at the photo of his beloved Chow Mein.

"Perhaps it was all a nightmare?" He thought. He wondered whether the Ostrich liver parfait he had enjoyed at his taxpayer funded five hour lunchtime at the Ivy earlier, had disagreed with him. Patten almost convinced himself that it was all a bad nightmare and would soon be forgotten. Wishing Chow Mein’s photo another good night he started to doze off….

To be continued.  


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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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