Sunday, August 12, 2007
Harry Thompson: The Lisa and Daisy chain
Harry Thompson's cruel and premature death at age 45 in 2005 was a great loss to TV satire - he was the producer/writer behind Ali G, Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and so many other great comic TV shows. He was the man who dreamt up the tub of lard as a stand-in for Roy Hattersley on HIGNFY - such lèse majesté would be unthinkable nowadays beyond the repeats.
Many a slower-witted celeb - such as Paula Yates - found themselves at the butt end of Thompson's hyper-vicious sense of humour - but were savvy enough to keep quiet lest they appeared even more ridiculous. The fascism of cool is a brutal (but short-lived) one. Thompson crested yet another generation of Oxbridge sharpies in entertainment - how those Oxbridge cultural waves keep on rolling in mediating response to underlying prole tectonic plate movements! Anyone would think it fated.
Shortly before his death Thompson co-founded with Daisy Goodwin TV indie company Silver River Productions - and I hadn't quite realised until recently how close Thompson and Goodwin were, even during his two-year relationship with Lisa Whadcock whom he married just hours before he died. The Guardian's Thompson obit reported that "Goodwin describes Thompson as 'incorruptible', meaning that he always told the truth, saying what he thought, not what you might want to be told." I am sure that was true after a fashion.