I sometimes think about my death, and I fancy that amongst the mourners who will want to honour me at my funeral service one of the first in line will be my television set. The speech, as I imagine it, goes something like this:

“I knew the dear departed for many years. We were very close. He was a good friend, and had teh patience of Job. When he came home from the office he would sit in front of me in the chair and from then on he would never leave me. He watched all my programmes – no matter what – in an open-hearted spirit of tolerance, with never a murmur of dissent. Sometimes, I must admit, I went on a bit. I would talk for hours on end. He would just wait, until late in the evening, for the next programme. And if, to test his loyalty, the next programme I showed him was another repeat of ‘Flash Gordon’, do you know what he would do? He would smile. I never had a cross word from him.

“To the very end of his life the dear departed like ‘Eldorado’ best of all my programmes. And he was a man of simple faith, because he always believed my weather forecasts.

“His courage and stamina were beyond question. This was a man who had no interest whatsoever in science or technology but who would sit with his eyes never wavering from my screen through an hour’s Open University lecture on laser beam frequencies, not understanding a word of it. Even though he was not a religious man – in the Churchy sense, anyway – when I showed him the Sunday ‘Songs of Praise’ he listened attentively. If it all became too much for him, as sometimes, after a long and gruelling weekend, it did, he would not complain. He would just quietly slip asleep in front of me.

“As it is written in ‘The Book of Proverbs’, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, and may the good Lord bless the dear departed and may his family (and the rest of the television audience) bear heir sufferings with the same patient fortitude which he has always displayed.”

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