THERE are few things more fascinating to the media than its own navel. As such, you might have thought the Sunday politics shows would have devoted themselves entirely to discussing newspaper reports that former Telegraph editor Charles Moore was to become chairman of the BBC and Paul Dacre, ex-Mail, was heading to broadcast regulator Ofcom.

Neither journalist, it is fair to say, would ever be in with a shout at becoming the chairman of Auntie’s fan club.

In the event, a global pandemic and the need to talk about students fleeing lockdown at university ensured there were other topics in town. But it was a close run thing at times.

First to be asked about media goings-on was Steve Baker, the Conservative MP for Wycombe. Interviewed on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday, the former Brexit Minister said the Moore and Dacre appointments would be “great news”.

Why? “They are Conservatives and they might actually start to look at the way the media functions and ensure there is some impartiality. I can assure you that from my point of view, time and again during interviews, I’ve felt that there was a consensus thought on the side of the broadcaster which was not on the side of moderate, mainstream Conservatism. I look forward to them perhaps being appointed and being a bit more Conservative and pragmatic in what is reported."

This warm welcome contrasted with the reaction of one Hugh Grant, actor of this parish, and no lover of the Daily Mail, who took to Twitter on hearing about the appointments. His assessment? “Coffin. Nail. UK.”

The “perhaps” in Mr Baker’s answer was important. As Peter Riddell, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, pointed out, public competitions for the new chairs of the BBC and Ofcom had not yet been launched. When they were, each would involve a senior independent panel member to provide assurance of a fair and open process.

Oliver Dowden, England's Culture Secretary, told Andrew Marr no job offers had been made to Messrs Dacre or Moore.

He did, however, say he had “conversations with people all of the time” when asked if there had been behind-the-scenes talks with Lord Moore or Mr Dacre offering them the jobs.

Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens, appearing on Ridge on Sunday, was unimpressed.

“The whole idea of announcing appointments before a process has actually taken place is a bit strange, and I think the public will be wondering where the Government’s priorities are on this.

“Why are they worrying and interfering in an open process and appointment for BBC and head of Ofcom, both two very senior independent public service posts that carry significant salaries?

"Why are the Government interfering in that sort of thing, when they should be concentrating on getting a grip on test and trace, keeping coronavirus rates under control and getting the economy back on track?”

It was a cue to get back to the here and now and what was happening in universities around the UK. Such was the interest in what was going on in these parts, the paper review on Marr took in a Scottish report about a student revolt against the lockdown rules.

It also featured a story in the Manchester Evening News about Manchester Metropolitan University. An accompanying photograph confirmed there is an unofficial competition going on in halls of residences to see who can post the wittiest message in windows. At Glasgow University residents went with “Help us. Send beer/pizza” while students in Manchester had gone for “HMP MMU”.

The possibility of students not being able to go home for Christmas was on many minds. On the BBC’s Politics Scotland, John Swinney, Education Secretary and Deputy FM, said it was the Scottish Government’s “absolute priority” to make sure students were able to do so. Mr Dowden appeared more hesitant, telling Sophy Ridge: “I very much want students to be able to go home at Christmas, and if we all pull together and observe these new rules, we follow the guidance, then we will be able to get to a point where that should be possible.”

For some light relief, The Andrew Marr Show had an interview with Roger Law, the co-creator of Spitting Image. The satirical puppet show will make its return on Britbox next Saturday.

“You start looking on Thatcher with nostalgia,” said Law of one of the old show’s most famous puppets. “At least you knew what she was about and what she was going to do. Boris and the boys you’ve got no idea and the ideology is absolutely nuts.”

Marr asked if the show would be going for right-wing targets, leaving the left and liberals alone.

“That’s no fun,” said Law. “There’s lots of ammunition to throw at the other side as well.” Marr did not ask whether the “other side” would stretch to the SNP as well as Labour and other parties.

A question of balance, perhaps, for the new regulator at Ofcom, whoever that might be?