Laurie Taylor Column

February 13, 2004

"Personal looks are inevitably an important element in the choice of academics as media experts" - Article in The Times about Baroness Greenfield

UNIVERSITY OF POPPLETON

Looking for an academic expert for your next programme? We can offer a veritable clutch of attractive, articulate people who are just waiting for your call.

* Dr M. Liversedge (Mike). All you need to know about medieval studies. Broadcasting credits include You and Yours and Richard and Judy . Mike is in his early middle age, full-figured but not stout. He enjoys a good head of hair and has a smart suit (with double vent).

* Professor S. W. Rampion (Susie). One of the UK's top experts on animal psychology. Television appearances include Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (£200 winner) and Animal Hospital (a cat with dyspepsia). Susie is a raven-haired belter who benefits from big brown eyes and an oddly appealing lisp.

*  Professor G. Lapping . Gordie is the "guru" of media and cultural studies. Previous credits include Stop Fannying About (BBC Poppleton discussion show) and Kilroy ("Sons who fancy their mothers"). He is on the mature side but boasts a relatively upright posture and several of his own teeth.

* The vice-chancellor . (VeeCee). Nobody knows more about how the managerial skills appropriate to a biscuit factory can be imported into a modern university than the VeeCee of Poppleton. He made two background appearances in the Newsnight film on "Universities no one will pay to attend" and was recently stopped in the street by a film crew and asked about bathroom cleaning products. He is on the fat side, with a red nose and large sunken jowls. He sports an expensive double-breasted suit and exudes authority.

*  Maureen . If your programme needs an "ordinary person" who can stand around looking very interested when people on five times her salary are talking palpable self-serving nonsense, then look no further than Maureen. Maureen is used to being patronised, underestimated and overlooked. It is difficult to describe her appearance. No one has ever bothered to look properly.

TOP DONS - WE GOT 'EM!

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