Head

Can’t keep up with my hair
Enjoyed last night’s History Of Light Entertainment on BBC2 – part three, which was about radio and television’s symbiotic relationship. This is a well-made series by the looks of it (didn’t see the previous two episodes), reliant for its talking heads on people with a real stake in the story it is telling, rather than just media commentators. Due to unfortunate editing, Christian O’Connell was the only head who appeared to be there to make gags. He may have said lots of pertinent, observant stuff, and he is a DJ, but they only used three bits and all were jokey, which made him, not the programme, seem glib. I was on it. You had to wait about an hour to see me in my little brown tracksuit top (I looked much less smart than the other contributors – Mark Radcliffe had a suit and shiny shirt on – there was no dress code that I was aware of). I remember doing my bit in a hotel room in Piccadilly way back in January, I think, judging by my shaggy hair, but it’s so long ago, I humbly calculated that I might not be on. Perhaps, I thought, they’d managed to draft in more important people since getting me in for safety. (After all, better to have Terry Wogan talking, than me talking about Terry Wogan.) But there I was, saying nice things about Noel’s House Party and Chris Evans at his peak. I’m glad I said positive things, especially when Terry Christain came on and tore Evan to bits. This came across as bitter and vindictive and jealous, even if it wasn’t! It’s a dangerous game, being a talking head – you can rattle on coherently and wisely for an hour, but it will be the off-the-cuff remark that gets edited in to suit the programme’s narrative. I am always careful not to fall into this trap. I don’t wish to come across on telly as one of those tiresome moaners. As it happens (guys and gals), The History Of Light Entertainment was concerned mostly with history and less with hagiography. It didn’t have an axe to grind.

Because I’ve been tied up with Not Going Out since December, I’ve turned down many talking head gigs this year. Because I’m free of those particular shackles now, I agreed to one that took me to somebody’s house in Shepherd’s Bush on Friday morning, where I spoke about 60 years of children’s TV for a BBC4 Time Shift programme. (These are of a high quality, and they usually give me a good slice of the pie.) At least, whenever it’s on the telly, probably December or something, I will be able to look at my hair and go, “Ah yes, that was in August, when it was quite short again, with a small quiff. I look quite shiny too – it was bloody hot that day and I walked the length of the Uxbridge Road to get there.”

PS: For the record, I originally illustrated this blog entry with a grab from the first series of Doctor Who Confidential, when I was experimenting with a fringe. (Imagine how dull it would be to be a talking head and never changing your hairstyle!) I didn’t grab it. Someone else did, and posted it on my Wikipedia entry, and it’s now long gone.

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20 thoughts on “Head

  1. I saw the program which was very interesting. After it there was also a great program on about British sitcoms. It had some great stuff about Hancock’s Half Hour and The Likely Lads. Did you see it?

  2. I saw the program which was very interesting. After it there was also a great program on about British sitcoms. It had some great stuff about Hancock’s Half Hour and The Likely Lads. Did you see it?

  3. I thought the comparison between Simon Dee and Chris Evans was very interesting. I wasn’t alive when Simon Dee was on radio or television but I had heard stories of his ego and his demise.It’s true about Evans though, he was in the right place at the right time and perfectly captured the mood at the time.

  4. I thought the comparison between Simon Dee and Chris Evans was very interesting. I wasn’t alive when Simon Dee was on radio or television but I had heard stories of his ego and his demise.It’s true about Evans though, he was in the right place at the right time and perfectly captured the mood at the time.

  5. I saw the programme last night too, missed the first one but saw last week’s and thought they’ve both been good. I’m loking forward to seeing next week’s

  6. I saw the programme last night too, missed the first one but saw last week’s and thought they’ve both been good. I’m loking forward to seeing next week’s

  7. It’s funny now to see so many people doing the “compare and contrast” thing with Chris Evans and Simon Dee. In my day it was Jonathan Ross and Simon Dee people used. But times change. I have to admit I felt Terry Christian did come over as being very petty, jealous and, well, bitter. Chris Evans really was the right guy at the right time, and he worked very hard to be there, it ddn’t always work, just ask anyone who saw his appearances on the original BSB, and TVam, but he didn’t give up. Or end up doing sad chat shows on Men and Motors like a low rent James Whale.

  8. It’s funny now to see so many people doing the “compare and contrast” thing with Chris Evans and Simon Dee. In my day it was Jonathan Ross and Simon Dee people used. But times change. I have to admit I felt Terry Christian did come over as being very petty, jealous and, well, bitter. Chris Evans really was the right guy at the right time, and he worked very hard to be there, it ddn’t always work, just ask anyone who saw his appearances on the original BSB, and TVam, but he didn’t give up. Or end up doing sad chat shows on Men and Motors like a low rent James Whale.

  9. I thought the same thing about Terry Christian. Chris Evans is ok, and yes he was big a few years ago but I think he’s had his moment now. I still don’t think he’ll be doing the drivetime show on Radio 2 in 5 years time though, I think he’ll soon move on.

  10. I thought the same thing about Terry Christian. Chris Evans is ok, and yes he was big a few years ago but I think he’s had his moment now. I still don’t think he’ll be doing the drivetime show on Radio 2 in 5 years time though, I think he’ll soon move on.

  11. I didn’t see the sitcom programme, Aidan, but I had already seen it. Very good, as I recall. It’s interesting that the History Of Light Entertainment was obviously edited before Evans made his big comeback at Radio 2, as this wasn’t mentioned was it? They had clearly gone back into the editing suite to put in a couple of headlines about DJs’ salaries, but apart from that, it sort of left Evans out in the wilderness, which made him more like Dee, which he isn’t. I think his future at Radio 2 seems assured.

  12. I didn’t see the sitcom programme, Aidan, but I had already seen it. Very good, as I recall. It’s interesting that the History Of Light Entertainment was obviously edited before Evans made his big comeback at Radio 2, as this wasn’t mentioned was it? They had clearly gone back into the editing suite to put in a couple of headlines about DJs’ salaries, but apart from that, it sort of left Evans out in the wilderness, which made him more like Dee, which he isn’t. I think his future at Radio 2 seems assured.

  13. I’ve seen all of these programmes and they are pretty good. This third one was the best thematically speaking and made for some good pub discussion the day after.I was most disappointed we didn’t get a clip of Telly Addicts with Noel Edmonds and the Collinses from Northampton!

  14. I’ve seen all of these programmes and they are pretty good. This third one was the best thematically speaking and made for some good pub discussion the day after.I was most disappointed we didn’t get a clip of Telly Addicts with Noel Edmonds and the Collinses from Northampton!

  15. I very much enjoyed the History of Light Entertainment programme. I’ve always thought radio was better than TV. As a Wikipedia editor, we’d be delighted if you could upload a photo of yourself under a copyleft (GFDL or Creative Commons) licence – the one there at the moment is used under a pretty dodgy fair use claim. Thanks, Adam.

  16. I very much enjoyed the History of Light Entertainment programme. I’ve always thought radio was better than TV. As a Wikipedia editor, we’d be delighted if you could upload a photo of yourself under a copyleft (GFDL or Creative Commons) licence – the one there at the moment is used under a pretty dodgy fair use claim. Thanks, Adam.

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