Who was that fat-necked, balding, smug twat?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 by

Yes, indeed, who was that fat-necked, balding, smug twat on BBC4′s Children’s TV on Trial – 1970s flapping his arms around like a nutter? Yes, okay, it was me. And I did it for the money.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy being asked for my opinion on something, who doesn’t? But I wouldn’t have done it if there wasn’t cash involved. This is what renovating a flat in North London does to you.

If memory serves, it was the show’s researcher, Janine, who got in touch. She’d mailed me following up on my connection with TV Cream. Thinking about it now, I’m not quite sure how she got my address… I guess it doesn’t take much. 

After a long chat about children’s programmes in the 1980s (“What was The Adventure Game?”), my details were then passed on to the producer of the 1970s episode – Paul Dwyer. He called me the following week and quizzed me on production personnel from the decade. I flummoxed, but he seemed happy and asked if I’d be willing to go on the programme. For quids. 

It’s Tuesday, 17 April. I’ve told the team they can’t film in my flat (see above about renovating), so they end up using Janine’s modest but nice place in West London. I’m taxi’d there, and arrive to see a bean bag and a plate of homemade chocolate crispy cakes laid on. This is the 1970s. It turns out I’m a lot taller than Janine, and so the beanbag is dispatched and I sit on the floor – my head now safely in shot. 

I start chatting to Paul, and it’s all very amiable. We slip into filming, and continue in the same form. The whole thing feels pretty natural, apart from the odd prompt. “01?” he says, “811 8055″ I chirp back, already seeing myself squidged into a montage of other inglorious types doing the same (which doesn’t actually happen in the finished show). “Could you sing the theme tune to that?”. “No”. 

We go round the houses, and the crew seem to laugh at some of the things I’m saying. That’s dangerous, because it’s getting a little heady. I’m steadily becoming Rob Deering. I take a sip of water and spill some down my front. Joe Public won’t clock it. I talk at length about Gripper Stebson, trampling on topics that should be covered in the ’80s edition. I say the same things again in exactly the same way when the neighbours above make a noise. I make poor cracks about Roger Price. I don’t, however, badmouth crap CSO. I don’t ask what anyone was on when they made their shows. 

The results, as you will have seen, were heavily edited. In fact, happily I wasn’t in it all that much, only really covering for the times the production team couldn’t get anyone interesting to talk about a certain show. But, hands up, even on the day, I was a fat-necked, balding, smug twat. For money. 

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the 1980s, because I’m in that too. In the meantime, I’m sorry for ruining your show.


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