And here’s another one. How much more loss can we take in one year? We’ve lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Prince, Terry Wogan (all right, scratch that last one) but really: I’m just getting over the heartbreak of losing Cohen, and now this! I really don’t think I can take much more. For he is dead, the inimitable, the ground-breaking (or perhaps we should say atmosphere-breaking) the witty, eccentric and yet still dedicated Ian Mccaskill has passed over like the weather fronts he so often gave us. His forecasts were legendary: he didn’t so much present the weather as dance around it, giving us off-beat and off-the-cuff remarks about what warm or cold fronts were likely to have the temerity to pass over us, and which of a battery of symbols would be governing our destinies in the coming hours.
‘They’ – ie non-British folk, say that we Brits talk about the weather all the time. They seem to find this bizarre, but as I keep explaining to every Johnny foreigner I meet, we always talk about the weather because there’s always something to talk about! The weather changes constantly. In Spain, for example, once you’ve said ‘Ay, que calor!’ or ‘Ay, que frio!’ there’s not much else to say (though you should, of course, say it with an upside-down exclamation mark, something I have failed to do here because there is a shortage of upside-down punctuation on this blog.) In Britain the weather changes constantly, which makes it notoriously difficult to forecast – and it was this fact that made Mccaskill so entertaining. He knew his stuff; which meant that he knew he was operating with so many variables it would make the viewer’s head spin, so instead of being serious he joked about it. He was a pleasure to watch and enlivened many a dull forecast; but the one I remember the most was when, during a particularly wet summer, he said:
No, I can’t find that one but I remember him saying… well, I’ll tell you in a bit. Meanwhile here is a Christmas forecast from 1990:
And here’s a Spitting Image take on how wrong the weather often was:
RIP Ian. We will miss you.
PS the thing I remember most is him saying during a particularly wet summer, ‘I’m trying to think of something nice to say about the weather. Meanwhile here is some light music.’