CAMPAIGNS: JUDGE AND JURY; Chat show duo take on the cutthroat world of current affairs

Richard and Judy simply lacked the killer instinct when it came to getting answers out of OJ Simpson, says Peter Hehir, chairman of Countrywide Communications

Richard and Judy simply lacked the killer instinct when it came to

getting answers out of OJ Simpson, says Peter Hehir, chairman of

Countrywide Communications



Yes it hurt. In fact, at times it was excruciating. Yes it worked. Well,

up to a point it did. Max Clifford productions usually do. But if his OJ

circus was to be considered for an IPR Sword of Excellence (okay, I

know he’s not a member...this is supposed to be funny) it would be ruled

out at the ‘objectives’ section.



For no one seemed to know quite what OJ Simpson was doing over here. Not

to make money surely - not short term anyway. A pounds 1 fee and pounds

40,000 expenses might attract one or two public relations consultants I

have known, but it don’t buy many pairs of gloves in LA.



And not to elicit any revelations about his wife’s murder. After months

of practice at saying nothing in court, ten minutes of frantic probing

by those new doyens of TV chat, Richard and Judy was hardly likely to

disturb our man.



And not to make us believe he is innocent. We still don’t.



No, it was probably just what it seemed, a softening up exercise prior

to the real hit - maybe a Michael Winner Hollywooden blockbuster? What

other reason could OJ and Max have for dining with the great man? No

one’s that hungry.



We Brits are strange, aren’t we? We have an insatiable curiosity about

the famous, even more the infamous. The more bizarre the allegations,

the more we both condemn it - and lap it up.



Why on earth Oxford’s finest wanted to fete OJ at their Union I can’t

imagine. Anyway, my estimation of that body never recovered after

Frankie Howard bared his bottom there to get the biggest laugh of the

night.



But how did Max himself do? On camera at the Oxford Union he looked a

suitably groomed, dapper and articulate representative of the PR

industry - Quentin Bell please note. He looked okay on the golf course,

too. So was this really about OJ’s rehabilitation or something much more

serious...golf? Oxford’s dreaming spires? New suit? Is Max sprucing

himself up to apply to the PRCA?



Perhaps not. His real quarry was obviously Granada Television, desperate

to give Richard and Judy’s London debut a shove with a first night star

it needed nearly as much as a new male lead. But even Max would have

been stopped dead in his tracks by Barbara Cartland’s quote of the week

about the show: ‘Are they children’s puppets?’ No, dear lady, but you’re

very close.



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