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13 Oct 2010

Sad news

A rather sombre note today. I apologise in adavance for the length of this post, it may be my last for a while...

If a certain report is true, it appears that Tomasz is to taken away from presenting duties and given a backroom job instead-- along with Rob McElwee and Phil McAvery. This (reportedly) is owing to cost-cutting measures on the part of the Met Office-- and with BBC input no doubt.

Here is said article. I must give you a health warning first, it's from the Daily Mail (where else), so keep the Optrex at hand....

If cut-backs have to be made, I can perhaps understand the rationale for Rob McElwee and Phil Avery, given they are nearer retirement age than the others. I would stress I have nothing against them personally: I rather like Rob's wry style and dry asides. Phil has a very clear broadcasting voice, and gives authoritative forecasts-- so it will be a shame to see them disappear.

Of course my focus is on Tomasz, and I am sad to hear this news-- as well as bemused. Lest we forget, Tomasz won a TRIC award earlier this year, with full praise from his BBC and Met Office superiors-- and rightly so. All the BBC weather-presenters had to re-apply for the job; despite his popularity and award, he didn't cut the grade for broadcasting to the nation. Oh my days.

You'll notice the DM here is making snide remarks about him, calling him "gaffe-prone", "controversial" and "Polish-born" {i}. Apparently in the Daily Mail's world, somebody posing in "skimpy" {ii} shorts for a gay magazine (the decadence), is "controversial". I can only imagine that their journalists have not been down to beach or swimming-pool recently.

I really hope Tomasz's superiors haven't made this decision on Tomasz's supposedly 'frequent' gaffes, given that all his fellow forecasters (not just Phil or Rob) make errors occasionally. Tomasz's gaffes come to the fore because of the way he adorably reacts, plus Terratec and I flag them up-- to right-thinking people's amusement. His "obscene" middle-finger gesture... admittedly not advisable, but it he's not exactly Frank Bough, is he? Besides the BBC/Met Office didn't sack Michael Fish or Bill Giles, for failing to predict a massive gale that flattened half of Southeast England 23 years ago this month.

I think it's a crazy decision-- because Tomasz is undoubtedly popular. He has thousands of followers on Facebook, this blog gets over hundred hits most days {iii}, he got plenty support after the middle-finger incident and most intelligent posters write nice things about him on Youtube {iv}.

Even on the DM's comments pages, there were nice comments for Tomasz. Usually they are replete with absolutist comments with certain words written LIKE THIS, to signal that unironic hyperbole and a lack of perspective are contained therein; accusing something of [insert supposed threat] gone mad, without realising they are equally mad (if more so).

Of course there were some people on certain forums who took schadenfreude at the news about Tomasz, we can't have weather presenters being exceedingly handsome and having personalities (especially if they are quirky {v}), can we now? Others were taking the General Cheeseburger approach to all Beeb weather-forecasts: "Round them up, put them in a field and bomb the bastards".

However there were some kind souls stating that Tomasz brightens their days, and he's adorable. Puce-face DM-readers and green-eyed monsters seem to forget that beyond the occasional infamous gaffe, Tomasz does a superb job; he presents the weather in an entertaining way and doesn't dumb down.

Even though his Facebook-followers lament his absence when he's not for a few days, his superiors allegedly think he's not good for onscreen presenting-- apparently giving the nebulous reason of not having "team-leadership" skills. I'd like to the criteria for this! He certainly leads his 'team' of viewers well, I'd imagine his Facebook feedback is only the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps Tomasz is *too* charismatic?

Speaking of which, this has got me wondering. Is there some ulterior reasoning behind all this? In the time I've been doing this blog, Tomasz has: Got himself an agent, posed for Attitude, set-up his own professional website, done a mammoth bike-ride, set up his own Facebook page, blog plus publicised his Twitter, appeared on prime-time Saturday telly and has developed a very distinctive presenting style. He has culviated a cult following, and rightly so.

Perhaps he saw this decision coming, and these recent 'showbiz' forays, are an indication of preparing for the future. I have had a few emails of late suggesting that Tomasz wouldn't stay within the realms of weather-forecasting for much longer, perhaps these prophesies were informed than I could ever know.

The most worrying part of the article is, that "at least [sic] two of them were later offered jobs as 'team leaders' in a production role". I hope one was Tomasz, it doesn't say of course, although the focus of the article was omniously on His Loveliness.

Read more:

I can't see somebody of The Schaf's calibre and immense talent disappearing off screens for long. Not least because of protest from us devotees, but see I can many a canny telly producer approaching his agent for gigs! Somebody who will appreciate his talents, and not see him shunted off to back office somewhere (that's if the DM has got its story straight).

He could possibly end up on ITV, Five, Channel 4 or Sky of course. He could even wind up at a BBC region (probably not Scotland!); I doubt at BBC East Midlands, who have a plethora of presenters-- including the Des Coleman (for it is he). So I doubt he will be moving down the road from me soon (damn!)

I just want to wish Tomasz all the best whatever he does in the future (again if the DM article is true?), it would be a shame if he didn't brighten up our screens once again. What will Simon McCoy do?

Some sad blighters out there may not be able to handle gorgeous people with charisma and warmth, but here at the The Schaf we can worship him!

I do apologise to Tomasz and anybody else if any of the details from the article aren't accurate, please feel free to pass comment-- especially if The Divine One himself is reading!

{i} Yeah bloody foreigner/immigrant. Come over, here stealing our jobs...
{ii} Showing too much ankle probably
{iii} I doubt that's because of my scribings!
{iv} The ones who aren't semi-literate, and know the correct meaning of the word "fail". It means to not succeed at all, rather than a minor slip-up.
{v} Sad to see Dan Corbett getting stick on those comments too. Where would be without his "finishing numbers" and "pic-nic basket". Those who diss Dan, can "whoosh" right off.


  1. A very good blog Roger with many accurate and valid points. A very short time after his award too makes it all a bit baffling.
    He is a very good presenter with a clear, friendly and personable style.
    I share ytour sadness.

  2. Oh no, what awful news, poor Schafers. I just can't understand it. It does make the BBC and Met Office look rather stupid getting rid of him in light of the TRIC award and as he is so well loved, but as you say maybe that is part of the problem as far as the powers that be see things.

    I'll be sorry to see Phil Avery and Rob McElwee leave our screens too. Particularly as it will mean we will no doubt be seeing more of the bland non-descript weather presenters from now on, most of whom I hate to say seem to be female and somewhat interchangeable.

    I hope that your prediction of bigger and better things for Tomasz turn out to be true and hope you will soon have some good news to tell us about in your usual wonderful style.

  3. According to Tim Reed Management, Tomasz Schafernaker will no longer be presenting on-air.
    Quote: ""I'm shocked that due to restructuring the Met Office have taken the decision to remove Tomasz from any on air presence. Tomasz and I are still waiting for feedback from the Met Office as to why he hasn't been chosen to remain in the broadcasting team. Nobody at the BBC has ever expressed any dissatisfaction to either Tomasz or me a...bout the standard of his work."
    Tim Reed Management".

  4. Wow, I've very flattered by the response, thank you. It's nice to see The Schaf getting such support.

    Thanks for pointing that statement; I only just noticed it myself, hence my update today. Glad his agent is on the case!

    I very much appreciate your lovely comments about my blog, I'm glad you liked it.

    Unlike much of the press and some internet trolls elsewhere, I think I've put things into perspective, and highlighted what a crazy decision this is. I wish I could do more to help him out.

    I thing your bang-on with that. I too suspect that that Tomasz could be 'too popular', many presenters have upset presenters by being just that.

    Are we too PC now, that we can't have anybody with any personality, just in case they offend some miserable old sod somewhere?

    Perhaps explains the growth industry of non-descript presenters (often pretty females) we have now, and why you don't see much of Fern Britton or Rustie Lee now.

    I too wish Tomasz all the best for the future, and again ta muchly for the kind words about my scribings

    ["Big thumbs up" emoticon]