You will all, no doubt, be familiar saying about never working with animals or children on TV. After my recent appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, however, that saw me holding forth on all things EU referendum with presenter Kate Garraway, some might be tempted to add “or bald bearded expats”.
My history of being on TV goes back to the 70s when as a small boy I had a happy birthday message read out on Tizwas – hosted by Chris Tarrant long before his “Who wants to be a Millionaire” heyday – a kids’ breakfast TV show that featured Spit the Dog, the Phantom Flan Flinger and a very young Lenny Henry. Blue Peter was the other show that shaped my childhood, very much the polite and good mannered show to Tizwas’ problem child. I tried vainly to get a Blue Peter badge. It’s probably scarred me emotionally somewhere.
My first appearence on TV properly came in the late 90s. The Jerry Springer Show was a huge hit over in the US and regional TV stations in the UK decided that they needed their own combative talk shows. The only problem that they needed guests who could talk semi intelligently in front of the camera, wouldn’t swear and wouldn’t end up knocking seven bells out of each other. A harder task that you might think for an embattedl producer, so an actor friend of mine set up a covert agency to provide “members of the public” for the shows. It really was no expense spared with me being picked up in a limo fom London, driven to the studio (it was normally Central TV so that meant Nottingham,) being allowed to indulge myself of the free flowing hospitality in the Green Room and then having my 15 minutes of fame, normally as the bad guy. It could get quite heated. On one show I was holding forth on why I didn’t like bottled blondes (I always got the serious debates) when a voice from the audience shouted out on live TV “You can talk. You bald bxxxxxrd!”
On my return to Marbella I was swift to sign up with a couple of agencies that needed, ahem, “interesting models”. This lead two day’s extra work on Eastenders when they filmed in Marbella, and more memorably, being a Genie in a Romanian chocolate bar commercial. This entailed me having my head shaved, donning a pair of giant Spock ears and being spray painted chocolate brown. Thankfully the advert never made YouTube…
These days howver, my TV appearences are limited to news stories, such as the Coin fires and Asha King stories. The impending EU referendum has also seen me hauled before the cameras to discuss the impact that Brexit might have on the expat community.
So far this year I have voiced my opinion on BBC, Chinese TV, ITV and most recently Good Morning Britain, the later entailing that I be at the five-star Puente Romano Beach Resort and Spa at 5.45am. This was, however, more than compensated by an outstanding buffet breakfast spread and my 15 minutes of infamy live on national TV.
All went smoothly although one of my old friends who partied with me in the 90s commented that if I was the voice of reason on the Coast then we were all doomed..
And for the record if leaving Europe means that we don’t have to endure the Eutovision Song Contest, then I’m all for it!