Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A bunch of pluggers

With celebs it's all want and no give.  At least that's my experience. If they haven't got a book out, appearing in a film or panto season has arrived you are very unlikely to get a celeb guest just to 'pop' in to say hello.

I can't blame them. Most look upon publicity as a necessary evil of the business they are in.  So when I was asked to produce a series called 'Pete Meets' a strand where celebs pop in and say hello, my heart sank.  The idea, I was told by my Programme Controller was that a collection of his showbiz chums would come onto the show and talk in depth about their relationship with Pete (Murray) and share anecdotes about the business.

Well it took me months of tricky negotiation to get some of them on.  My favourite was the old trouper Dora Bryan now a hospitalised very frail old lady but in the 1990s she was busy acting and running a hotel in Brighton.

"I'll come for forty pounds and I shall travel by train to London first class and you will pay for that as well."  I remember asking my Editor to clear her expenses.  "First class!" he said as if this was the most decadent thing a celeb had demanded since Ertha Kitt wanted a dozen red roses in her dressing room.  (When we explained the radio station didn't have a dressing room Ertha's reply according to her P.A. was. "Well I'm still having the f*cking roses, if you want me.") 

Anyway Dora duly arrived and she was worth every penny of that first class fare and £40 budget.  I remember Chris sneaking into the live studio with a cup of tea for Pete and Dora mid question, stopped and said to Chris "Two sugars in mine love and make it a strong one." So I guess not all celebs are a bunch of pluggers.

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