Jonathan Ross, health campaigner?

At the weekend I saw a new side of the ubiquitous Jonathan Ross. Witty? Rude? Intelligent? Overpaid? These are frequently remarked-on aspects of Mr Ross, although some say that nowadays he shows a little more humility after his recent problems. The qualities I saw, or rather heard on 25 April, you could call humanity, empathy, genuine interest in and knowledge of larger issues than the showbiz stuff that we can all ingest and enjoy on his radio and TV shows.

What prompted this, at 11.50 on a Saturday morning on his BBC Radio 2 show, (yes, I was so impressed I even made a note of the time) was a phone call from a woman with a record request. Jonathan asked the caller what her job was; she replied that she worked in a rehabilitation hospital. He asked what kinds of patients were treated there and it turned out that many of them were stroke survivors.

Rather than wrapping the conversation up with a few banalities, as many radio presenters would have, Ross followed up with intelligent and interested questions about stroke: the work; the patients; the effects of this devastating condition; the importance of speedy diagnosis and treatment. He was clearly well aware of the recent Department of Health advertising campaign and, with his customary verbal creativity, managed to work that campaign’s “FAST” slogan into his closing comments. Full marks Jonathan Ross, for whom I have a new-found respect.