“Bernie,” he says expansively, “you don’t seem to me the type of man that wants to stand in the way of progress.”
Oh dear. It’s going to be one of those conversations, eh? “Progress, Rupert? Me standing in the way? Of course not. Which type of progress are you talking about anyway?”
“Why, Bernie, 3D of course. Haven’t you heard of it? Don’t you want to see those splendid F1 motors literally exploding out of TV screens around the world?”
‘Exploding’ doesn’t seem to me the most fortunate choice of words here, but I decide to let that go. “Rupert,” I tell him, “let it be said that Formula One always is, always has been, and always will be at the forefront of technology.” I learned that from Winston Churchill. Always say something three different ways if you can get away with it. “But we’re serious professionals too. So we’ll take something on board when everything’s ready, and not before. We’re giving the UK everything in HD, don’t we? Did it in Singapore last year, by the way. Like I said, we’re at the forefront. We’ll do the same with 3D when it’s ready. But thanks for offering your help. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
“Bernie, if you sell me the broadcasting rights we’ll be ready much sooner than you think. Let me do my work and you won’t be sorry. We’re the best of the best and we’ve got the audience to prove it.”
If I let you do your work, old scoundrel, you won’t rest until you’ve edged everybody out and control the whole business. Which will happen over my dead body. But I decide not to say the obvious.
“Rupert, my friend,” I say. That should set some alarm bells ringing. “I’d love to help you here but I’m afraid the European Commission won’t let me. So be a good boy and go play 3D media tycoon somewhere else, won’t you? And give my regards to Wendi, will you?”
“Bernie,” he says, “that was a low blow. You know I’m one of the most avid monarchists in the country. Fully committed to the cause of the Royal Family. And 3D, of course. Which is more than I can say about you. Seriously, Bernie, this way you’ll never get a Knighthood. We’ll talk again.”