The Top TV Presenters . .

Wendy

Oh, there was nearly blood on the carpet the other night Chez Templeton! There was I cleaning the filter for our Honey Gourami and Marbled Sailfin Pleco fish when Wendy made this horrible laughing cackling sound she makes.

“Oh he’s so funny that Graham Norton” snorted Wendy. “He’s the best presenter on television by far.”

“Bollocks Wendy!” I shouted from the utility room. I was a little short-tempered at the end of the day. “He’s not a real television presenter and you seem to have simply forgotten the masters of the past.”

“Like who?” Wendy challenged; clearly spoiling for a fight from her horizontal position on the sofa. “Like who?”

“Well Mike Morris for starters” I said. “There’s a man who had to wake the nation up and send them to work.” Mike joined TV-am as a sports reporter I remembered and quickly became the main ‘face’ of TV-am Sport and presented bulletins until the end of 1987. During this time he would also regularly co-present “Good Morning Britain”, filling in for the beautifully jumpered Nick Owen. From 1988 onwards Mike took over as “Good Morning Britain” and he then went on to become regular presenter of Yorkshire TV’s news magazine programme “Calendar”.

And then I tried to finish the argument with a left hook by summoning a female tv presenter to my case and said “Or Anne Diamond” and then regretted it instantly.

“Anne Bloody Diamond” said Wendy. “Grow up! At least try to make an argument.”

I checked out Anne “Bloody” Diamond’s biography just to see if it was worth coming back to Wendy at a later date but all it said was “Anne finally left TV-am in 1990 to pursue other career opportunities and look after her young family” which in my speak means she’s been offered bugger all since, given that her “young family would now be 17!”

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Making your mind up!


“It’s always best to get out at the top” they say. But if you decide not to, as shown by The Original Bucks Fizz, then at least your loyal fans get further chances to see your amazing act. And you’ll still get to support some amazing groups on “the circuit” like Bjorn Again – the Abba tribute act.

Bucks Fizz The Original line up includes Jay Ashton, Cheryl Thingy and Mike The Blonde One but not The Older One who can still grace the stage pumping out the old old favourites like “Land of make believe” “Making your mind up” and the other ones.

Brilliant new routines with stunning choreography and really tricky new moves like the “pat a cake” are available for all to see as they tour. And the costumes are just as scanty as when Mike The Blonde One and Bobby G ripped off skirts from Jay and Cheryl in front of an appreciative crowd at the European Song Contest on March 11th 1981. It’s great to know that the outfits look as good then as they do today.

But Bucks Fizz took nothing for granted, and promoted their last tour hard in 2009 on popular tv shows like Loose Women and Live from Studio Five and they even promoted their tour dates with significant milestones like when they said “the band are working hard on the one off show at Newcastle City Hall on the 12th December 2009. It’s the 25th anniversary of the 1984 coach crash where Mike Nolan nearly lost his life. See the homepage for ticket details for this very special show.”

With vast media coverage and self-promotion like this its no wonder the band played in front of some packed, heaving audiences.

Derek and The Dominos

Wade insists on losing his shirt

It should have been a quiet end to the night. The World Cup Final had played out in the public bar of The Cross Keys, Sprodlington and in the corner of the saloon bar, with a few World Top’s already consumed, Wade the crop sprayer sat with the rest of us. He had just lost every game of dominos.

I couldn’t work out why he continued with his bizarre tactic of trying of offload all his 3’s first; I’ll never understand.

“You’ll take the bloody shirt off my back” barked Wade, jumping up from his stool and scattering the dominos.

“Wade, we’re playing for a couple of quid a corner,” I said. “Now sit down.”

“You’re just a bunch of hustlers,” he continued “and you want the sodding shirt off my back.”

“Oh for God’s sake, here we go!” predicted Colin, having seen Wade do the same routine at least seven times in the last 12 months.

And so there we sat, and watched Wade stand on his stool; take off his shirt like a footballer who had scored the winning goal in the World Cup final, and swing it around his head before releasing it across the bar.

Now sit down” we all said.

Bill at his very best

Some have questioned my view that Bill Buckley is the continuity God of television. I wanted to highlight that he too is the model professional on radio.

Just listen to how his clear prior preparation enables him to smoothly open his show. Listen too to how he takes full responsibility for his problems and refuses to blame those around him for the troubles. Listen as well to how he considers those, who like me, enjoy the sound of Level 42 and are happy to listen to the same song twice in a row.

Those doubters should ask themselves why Bill would be given the 1am to 5am slot on LBC if he wasn’t such a model professional?

Bill Buckley – A legend in continuity

I recently wrote about Children’s television presenters questioning the ability of today’s youngsters with those of our yesteryear. In discussing Derek Griffiths, I mentioned that his voice over work was only perhaps rivalled by that of Bill Buckley. In her comment on my article, the usually well-informed Doris Brazil asked for more details on Bill Buckley. I guess this endorses his work, as he was always able to make sure that he didn’t detract attention from the programmes themselves.

Bill’s big break came in 1982 when he appeared on Ester Rantzen’s “That’s Life”. Until then Bill has appeared in the written press and in his own words he ” didn’t mind swapping the industrial tribunals and magistrates’ courts of Sandwell for the broken washing machines and phallic parsnips of Shepherds Bush a bit!”

From there, Bill was at the birth of Breakfast television with Frank Bough and Selina Scott and he dealt admirably with the pressures of ” Writing a witty, three-minute song overnight then singing it to a sleepy nation at 6.45 and 8.45am .” Well done there Bill ! He also appeared on Songs of Praise where he beautifully sang the David Essex hit “A winter’s tale” backed by a huge choir.

Following time on The Holiday Programme, the powers that be decided that Bill’s attributes were now more suited to radio and he moved to the BBC Radio Solent where he did a fabulous job. But you couldn’t keep Bill regionalised and he popped up Nationally when he “appeared on Ken Bruce’s show on BBC Radio 2 as a celebrity contestant in his Popmaster quiz, ” and “thrashed the charming lead singer of Del Maitri, Justin Curren, 30 points to 9. (I think Del Maitri or Del Amitri as I remember them disbanded shortly afterwards – it’s not easy getting over a drubbing by Buckley)

Following more television work where Les Dawson described him as “ballast” on Blankety Blank, Bill then moved to the legendary work he accomplished as Channel 5’s weekend continuity announcer. He says he was there for five years from Day two (I can only imagine Bill was busy with prior commitments on the launch day itself.)

And so to understand Bill’s work a little closer. Just have a listen to his dulcet tones as he provides the continuity itself and introduces the “pec-oiling”Mr Gay UK in a way only Bill could.
http://www.billbuckley.net/cgi-bin/page.pl?p=showreel_05

What a talent Bill Buckley is.

Where did the best children’s televisions presenters go ?

What on earth happened to the children’s television presenters of old? I can’t think of anyone who oozes the qualities of Val John and Peter for example. How I laugh still when I remember watching Lulu the elephant with my daughter Tracey one afternoon.

You just simply don’t get that quality television anymore. I couldn’t even name five children’s television presenters these days. There’s Dick and Dom who appear to be able to shout “Bogies” loudly (which was clearly worthy of a contract) and that’s about it.
There are no real characters anymore. The marvelous Brian Cant, for example I mean, yes, Brian did well in his personal life marrying Fern Britton’s sister, which means he has chef Phil Vickery as his brother-in-law; but he was so versatile. Play School, Play Away, Trumpton, Chigley, Camberwick Green were just some of the fantastic programmes Brian brought to life.

And who could forget Derek Griffiths? He was a trained Royal Shakespearean actor, who not only appeared alongside Brian and Chloe Ashcroft in Play School, but he even sang the theme tune to Bod. Derek recently did the voice over for JamJar adverts where I feel he is one of the best in his field, rivalled only perhaps by the brilliance that resides in Bill Buckley.

The best? Well I have to say Johnny Ball. From Bristol to Bolton, and then earning an apprenticeship the right way with Butlins(following some National Service) Johnny entertained and taught at the same time. Tracey learned maths from Johnny through Think of a Number; Think Again; Think Backwards; Think…This Way and Johnny Ball Reveals All – Johnny certainly liked the word Think didn’t he!

So, there we are. The best children’s television presenters, and whilst my license money has increased from £18 in 1975 to £145 now – we’re not getting value for money these days are we?

The Two Ronnies – Fork Handles

In a hardware shop. Ronnie Corbett is behind the counter, wearing a warehouse jacket. He has just finished serving a customer.
CORBETT (muttering): There you are. Mind how you go.
(Ronnie Barker enters the shop, wearing a scruffy tank-top and beanie)
BARKER: Four Candles!
CORBETT: Four Candles?
BARKER: Four Candles.
(Ronnie Corbett makes for a box, and gets out four candles. He places them on the counter)
BARKER: No, four candles!
CORBETT (confused): Well there you are, four candles!
BARKER: No, fork ‘andles! ‘Andles for forks!
(Ronnie Corbett puts the candles away, and goes to get a fork handle. He places it onto the counter)CORBETT (muttering): Fork handles. Thought you said ‘four candles!’ (more clearly) Next?
BARKER: Got any plugs?
CORBETT: Plugs. What kind of plugs?
BARKER: A rubber one, bathroom.
(Ronnie Corbett gets out a box of bath plugs, and places it on the counter)
CORBETT (pulling out two different sized plugs): What size?
BARKER: Thirteen amp!
CORBETT (muttering): It’s electric bathroom plugs, we call them, in the trade. Electric bathroom plugs!
(He puts the box away, gets out another box, and places on the counter an electric plug, then puts the box away)
BARKER: Saw tips!
CORBETT: Saw tips? (he doesn’t know what he means) What d’you want? Ointment, or something like that?
BARKER: No, saw tips for covering saws.
CORBETT: Oh, haven’t got any, haven’t got any. (he mutters) Comin’ in, but we haven’ got any. Next?
BARKER: ‘O’s!
CORBETT: ‘O’s?
BARKER: ‘O’s.
(He goes to get a hoe, and places it on the counter)
BARKER: No, ‘O’s!
CORBETT: ‘O’s! I thought you said ‘O! (he takes the hose back, and gets a hose, whilst muttering) When you said ‘O’s, I thought you said ‘O! ‘O’s!
(He places the hose onto the counter)
BARKER: No, ‘O’s!
CORBETT (confused for a moment): O’s? Oh, you mean panty ‘o’s, panty ‘o’s! (he picks up a pair of tights from beside him)
BARKER: No, no, ‘O’s! ‘O’s for the gate. Mon repose! ‘O’s! Letter O’s!
CORBETT (finally realising): Letter O’s! (muttering) You had me going there!
(He climbs up a stepladder, gets a box down, puts the ladder away, and takes the box to the counter, and searches through it for letter O’s)
CORBETT: How many d’you want?
BARKER: Two.
(Ronnie Corbett leaves two letter O’s on the counter, then takes the box back, gets the ladder out again, puts the box away, climbs down the ladder, and puts the ladder away, then returns to the counter)
CORBETT: Yes, next?
BARKER: Got any P’s?
CORBETT (fed up): For Gawd’ sake, why didn’ you bleedin’ tell me that while I was up there then? I’m up and down the shop already, it’s up and down the bleedin’ shop all the time. (He gets the ladder out, climbs up and gets the box of letters down, then puts the ladder away) Honestly, I’ve got all this shop, I ain’t got any help, it’s worth it we plan things. (He puts the box on the counter, and gets out some letter P’s) How many d’you want?
BARKER: No! Tins of peas. Three tins of peas!
CORBETT: You’re ‘avin’ me on, ain’t ya, yer ‘avin’ me on?
BARKER: I’m not!
(Ronnie Corbett dumps the box under the counter, and gets three tins of peas)
CORBETT (placing the tins on the counter): Next?
BARKER: Got any pumps?
CORBETT (getting really fed up): ‘And pumps, foot pumps? Come on!
BARKER (surprised he has to ask): Foot pumps!
CORBETT (muttering, as he goes down the shop): Foot pumps. See a foot pump? (He sees one, and picks it up) Tidy up in ‘ere.
(He puts the pump down on the counter)
BARKER: No, pumps fer ya feet! Brown pump, size nine!
CORBETT (almost at breaking point): You are ‘avin’ me on, you are definitely ‘avin’ me on!
BARKER (not taking much notice of Corbett’s mood): I’m not!
CORBETT: You are ‘avin’ me on! (He takes back the pump, and gets a pair of brown foot pumps out of a drawer, and places them on the counter) Next?
BARKER: Washers!
CORBETT (really close to breaking point): What, dishwashers, floor washers, car washers, windscreen washers, back scrubbers, lavatory cleaners? Floor washers?
BARKER: ‘Alf inch washers!
CORBETT: Oh, tap washers, tap washers? (He finally breaks, and makes to confiscate his list) Look, I’ve had just about enough of this, give us that list. (He mutters) I’ll get it all myself! (Reading through the list) What’s this? What’s that? Oh that does it! That just about does it! I have just about had it! (calling through to the back) Mr. Jones! You come out and serve this customer please, I have just about had enough of ‘im. (Mr. Jones comes out, and Ronnie Corbett shows him the list) Look what ‘e’s got on there! Look what ‘e’s got on there!
JONES (who goes to a drawer with a towel hanging out of it, and opens it): Right! How many would ya like? One or two?
(He removes the towel to reveal the label on the drawer – ‘Bill hooks’!)