For Sarah Brooks it was going to be a very special 18th birthday party at her parents home in Bovey Tracey, just off the eastern flank of Dartmoor. Sadly for her it was anything but as word got out about this event. Rather than just the 100 invited attendees Sarah's mother reckoned there were up to 2000 drunken party goers, far too many for the 4 employed doormen to control and the mob went on an orgy of destruction at the family's home at Colehayes Park.
What added to the anger of the Brooks family was an unbelievably crass announcement by a disc jockey called Pete Tong on a BBC Radio 1 programme. Apparently he does what they call a 'shout out' on his show announcing events that his listeners might want to go to. Although the BBC have been totally crass they have been giving full coverage on this story on radio, TV and the internet. It would appear that Tong did not say exactly where this party was but what he did say you can listen to here. The information evidently had been passed to him from a listener. Somehow it also got flagged up on the internet using one of the social networking sites I believe. What is ever so evident in this day and age is that information can be spread round very quickly and easily: think mobiles, think texting, think the internet. Remember just how quickly people descended on Branscombe when cargo from the MSC Napoli started coming ashore. The bush telegraph is very efficient , too efficient.
There was a time when the BBC really was thought to set an excellent example in behaviour and standards, very important in my opinion as it was the one very large organisation with which the population was regularly in contact. Those standards have slipped considerably over recent years I have to say and this unchecked announcement by Tong is completely unacceptable. Will the BBC just shrug their shoulders and leave Mr and Mrs Brooks to sort out the thousands of pounds damage to their home? I would make sure that Tong was reprimanded but these days it seems as if nobody has to carry the can about anything. While I'm having a go about the beeb I must mention the Radio Devon lunch time phone-in. Until relatively recently it was hosted by Justin Leigh who ran the programme in a very professional manner and couldn't be faulted. The presenter now is Michael Chequer, a very amiable chap but instead of taking a strictly neutral stance on the many controversial issues raised he is inclined to say "I have to agree with you" or words to that effect. Now he is not there to say that whatever his own feelings might be. It might seem that I am being just too picky but it's just a small illustration of the falling off of standards.
I fully appreciate that lifestyle is of a far more casual nature these days and that much of the BBC's output has to be unscripted so the maintenance of good standards becomes more difficult but our national broadcaster must lead the way in professionalism.