Thursday, 14 January 2010

A right pair


I thought I would share a couple of stories of when guests go bad or at least don't behave they way you expect. Frankie Howerd and James Bolam feature.

James Bolam star of 'When The Boat Comes In' and 'New Tricks' is a very fine actor and I thought would make a great guest for The Pete Murray Show. (I Produced during early 1990s)  Not on this occasion he could barely say a word to us before and on air answered Pete's questions with either a yes or no.

By the end of the first fifteen minutes Pete had exhausted all the qs and in typical Pete style he said thank you very much James and paid him off with 45 mins left on the clock.   James left saying to Cath the show's programme assistant, 'My agent told me I was on for an hour?' she said 'Oh they have made a mistake we can only fit you in for 15mins.' And it was left to me to think up some instant open-line material for Pete to punt out.

Again back in 1989 When Frankie Howerd turned up as a guest I sent Cath upstairs to collect him.  She came down empty handed. 'He won't come he just turns his back on me' she said. 'I don't think he likes women - what shall we do?'  'I know' I said  'we'll send Chris up' Well he loved Chris and came trotting down and into the control room.  'Hello' I said Frankie looked at the ground and mumbled a hello and then slumped himself in the corner again head down.

This is when you have that feeling that sh*t is about to hit the fan and a James Bolam moment was about to occur.  During the news we took Frankie in still head down. He and Pete sat in silence during the news.  Oh dear.

The red light on Pete introduces 'my dear special friend Frankie Howerd' and it was if Frankie had suddenly been switched on. 'Ooooo eeerrr missus, no no and thrice no' he said his body coming alive and the next hour was a roller coaster of fun and great radio.

So however hard you try to plan ahead sometimes the guests don't play ball.

PS Frankie also had the worst hair piece I had ever seen it was bright ginger and clearly nylon and it was plonked on top of his head like an act of defiance.

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