The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Holiday Cover

This is me, on my own, waiting to review this week’s films as Mark Kermode in the 5 Live studio, while Mark Radcliffe, who was playing Simon Mayo, was in Headingly, straining to hear me over the sound of appeals and various other crowd noises, not to mention a chorus of Just One Cornetto at one point (I don’t understand cricket). I very rarely get to “be” Mark Kermode with Simon Mayo, as when Mark’s away, Simon is usually away too. Mind you, they get quality holiday cover in for him, usually Phil Williams or Colin Murray or Richard Bacon, but whatever the pairing, we always know we’re on a hiding to nothing trying to fill the chasm left by the people’s favourites “Dr K” and “Dr M”.

If you could see me on a webcam now, I’m looking just as bored – or thoughtful – in a BBC News green room, waiting to “be” Mark Kermode on Film 24. It can be a lonely life moving from studio to studio (I was even grabbed by the Six O’Clock News to give a soundbite about the late John Hughes – at least I was already in a shirt). This open-plan odyssey is animated only by the actual radio/TV appearance itself, when at least I get to talk. Due to “the cricket”, my bulging portfolio of new films seen – seven! – was cruelly truncated on 5 Live by the unscheduled appearance of Sir Geoffrey Boycott at Mark Radcliffe’s side for his own comment on England’s collapse at the Ashes (that’s what was happening, isn’t it?), and I didn’t even get the chance to rave about Mesrine: Killer Instinct – easily my film of the week. At least they only require three films on Film 24, so I know I’ll get my chance to rave about it on the swivel chair.

I made a joke on last week’s Film 24 about not being able to get wi-fi access at the BBC, which used to be true. Now I seem to be able to connect, which is why I’m wiling away the downtime writing about wiling away the downtime. Cheers.

PS: Just realised that all my Film 24 appearances are logged on the BBC website here (including tonight’s – they work fast in BBC online). It seems I have been sitting or perching on Mark’s chair for almost two years. I didn’t know it had been so long. I’ve had a lot of use out of this suit.

PPS: Thanks to Paul Bailey for the grab. Nicely done.

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