Recently the idea of the ‘national treasure’ has started appearing in the media, usually used to denote someone so beloved of the nation that they’re fit for canonisation. Think Wogan, Attenborough, the late great Sir Bobby Robson and Stephen Fry.
I’ve no real axe to grind here, and I have a lot of time for Fry, a very funny, intelligent, interesting and probably lovely man. I’d say the only criticism that could be levelled at Fry is that he can come across as a bit smug.
I’m less certain that Paul Merton is a national treasure, having suffered through his numerous terrible programmes and unfunny remakes of Hancock’s Half Hour. I’d say his worst trait is a kind of shouty sneering aggression.
So, guess what traits these Direct Line adverts accentuate the most? Merton always gave me the impression he’d rather be a south London cab driver anyway, but if Fry wants to ensure he keeps getting invited to the Test Match Special commentary box and those inevitable titles later in life I’d jettison Direct Line ASAP.