Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Memorabilia (Extended)

My past! What a funny place. If you didn't editorialise your life it'd just look like random bouncing about from one thing to another, wouldn't it?

Just me, then.

Anyhow, years ago (probably about 13) I quite fancied that I'd like to interview an actor who I felt deserved to be a cult, partly because back then there weren't the wealth of internet sites gathering trivia about recent TV there are now and pride in my job simply demanded I glean as much as possible about an old TV show he'd done, and partly because I thought I might stand a chance of writing for the TV show he was then working on.

So it was I went down to interview Nigel Plaskitt about Pipkins on the Spitting Image set, and amongst other things heard Nigel's account of how Tom Baker's lip got split by an angry dog in a pub during a break from the recording of Doctor Who - The Ribos Operation (that's right, Mark, the one with Binro the Chekhovian in it).

The story has been reprinted now all these years later in the rather lovely magazine Doctor Who - In Their Own Words, to my surprise and delight. It's the definitive telling, I tell you (and even better, my favourite bit, Nigel's words "Tom, being Tom" which implied this drunken incident was just the tip of the iceberg, hasn't been edited out this time)!

The day after the Spitting Image visit (during which I also saw Parsons and Naylor at a table, looking stressed and knackered with not much written in front of them), I went to meet Ken Campbell at his North London house. That was a great trip, meeting your heroes and finding them fun.

I did write for Spitting Image too, sort of, sending loads of quickies and sketches for the final season that got encouraging "thanks, but no thanks" messages from the script editor, Will Ing (I never met him, I take it on trust that really was his name), until one afternoon I got a call from him telling me my sketch was on that coming Sunday.
It wasn't much cop, an hilarious 'It could be you' sketch in which a shepherd is blown up by a crashing satellite (I was combining the National Lottery finger and the descent of a Soviet satellite we were assured would almost certainly crash into the sea, to satirise our trust in and abuse of statistics, I imagine. Either that or I was desperate for money, and even more desperate for ideas).

Then there was an IRA bomb attack and my sketch was dropped. I suspect random death by explosion had suddenly just got a little less funny.

You forget just what's changed, sometimes. Hey listen, what did you want? Profundity costs. You only get glib for free, here.

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