The Prince and the Paedo: Royal correspondent is the most pathetic job in British media

Trust me, Nicholas Witchell hates himself more than you could ever hate him.

A mafia boss pictured yesterday.

The Monarchy — or rather the dry rot at the heart of the institution, as represented by the disgusting Prince Andrew — is a big story right now. Surely, that must mean being a royal correspondent is a joy… nope.

Royal correspondents are like eunuchs at an ancient Greek orgy. They see lots of what is going on, but there’s very little they can do about it. In the case of Prince Andrew, his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and the continuing drip, drip, drip of accusations about him, mean royal correspondents are hamstrung.

Their roles require them to suck up to the monarchy so relentlessly that reporting with honesty and clarity on Prince Andrew is impossible. Royal correspondents end up reduced to talking about the trivia while their generalist colleagues, still used to reporting real things, pick up the slack.

Imagine for a moment that you are Nicholas Witchell. Now you’ve recovered from the overwhelming wave of nausea and self-loathing, think about this:

You were part of — with Sue Lawley — the anchor duo who inaugurated the Six O’Clock News, and were the first reporter to break the news on-air of Lord Mountbatten’s murder in 1979, the Zeebrugge ferry disaster in 1987, Lockerbie in 1988, and the death of Princess Diana in 1997. You were a real reporter. And now… you scrabble around in the dirty scraps flung out by the Royal Family, bowing and scraping as those wasters, chief among them Prince Charles, call you “an awful man”.

There’s a moment in Thick of It where Malcolm Tucker, on the cusp of being arrested, rages about how his job has broken him, taken control of him completely:

You know Jackie fucking Chan about me. You know fuck all about me! I am totally beyond the realms of your fuckin' tousle-haired fuckin' dim-witted compre-fucking-hension. I don't just take this fucking job home, you know! I take this job home, it fucking ties me to the bed, and it fuckin' fucks me from arsehole to breakfast! Then it wakes me up in the morning with a cup full of piss slammed in my face, slaps me about the chops to make sure I'm awake enough so it can kick me in the fucking bollocks! This job has taken me in every hole in my fucking body. "Malcolm!", it's gone, you can't know Malcolm because Malcolm is not here! Malcolm fucking left the building fucking years ago!

This is a fucking husk, I am a fucking host for this fucking job. Do you want this job? Yes? You do fucking want this job? Then you're gonna have to swallow this whole fucking life and let it grow inside you like a parasite, getting bigger and bigger and bigger until it fucking eats your insides alive and it stares out of your eyes and tells you what to do.You know Jackie fucking Chan about me. You know fuck all about me! I am totally beyond the realms of your fuckin' tousle-haired fuckin' dim-witted compre-fucking-hension.

I don't just take this fucking job home, you know! I take this job home, it fucking ties me to the bed, and it fuckin' fucks me from arsehole to breakfast! Then it wakes me up in the morning with a cup full of piss slammed in my face, slaps me about the chops to make sure I'm awake enough so it can kick me in the fucking bollocks!

This job has taken me in every hole in my fucking body. "Malcolm!", it's gone, you can't know Malcolm because Malcolm is not here! Malcolm fucking left the building fucking years ago! This is a fucking husk, I am a fucking host for this fucking job. Do you want this job? Yes? You do fucking want this job? Then you're gonna have to swallow this whole fucking life and let it grow inside you like a parasite, getting bigger and bigger and bigger until it fucking eats your insides alive and it stares out of your eyes and tells you what to do.

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I can imagine Nicholas Witchell cracking one day and telling his replacement as Royal punching bag similar. That job has made him a husk, a punchline for people — including me on occasion — who have forgotten the days when he was allowed to break real news about real people.

Being a Royal Correspondent is being told to report on a family who are just the Kardashians without the talent, but with hundreds of years of entitlement, privilege and contempt for normal people larded on top.

People chuckled when Prince Charles raged at Witchell: “I can't bear that man. I mean, he's so awful, he really is." Prince Charles thinks someone else is ‘awful’? The tampon dirty-talking, anti-democratic, talentless, black spider letters, man child? It would be funny if it wasn’t so contemptible.

If you’re a journalist and are offered a role as a Royal Correspondent. Ask what you’re doing wrong. Because you’re not a superstar, you’re — to lean on another Thick of It — Peter Mannion about to be shuffled over to DoSAC by a Stewart Pearson figure who has had enough of your shit:

What? Peter Mannion, MP? Yeah! Old guard? We're not sending him to DoSAC to fatten him up, we're putting him out to pasture, Malcolm.

Refuse that job and go for a Twix.

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