Thursday, 17 January 2008

In Media Res

Followers of my fast track media lifestyle, delayed, derailed and regularly replaced by buses as it is, will recall that I met Peter Bazalgette in December. At the time I didn't mention that on meeting me then he said "We've met before haven't we?"
We hadn't, though I suggested he might possibly have seen me in the grim ill thought through Channel 5 television show my ex-employers forced me to do, shortly before I resigned. Luckily he hadn't seen it. He was however kind enough to echo my feelings about the show's presenter and we moved on.

Well, on Monday, fresh from seeing Paul Jackson, the comedy producer du nos jours I'd say if French and pushed, at that ITV, I passed Bazalgette walking down Gray's Inn Road- quite possibly heading for that ITV himself.
He gave me a cheery hello as he passed, which I matched with an amazed one. Bazalgette remembered me!

Now, either this shows what a great pro and smooth operator he is, remembering and swapping pleasantries with all and sundry, or I look a bit like someone he can't quite place- maybe some embittered researcher or runner on a failed Zeppotron project, or a would be bottom level celeb who agreed to do something wacky for something late night and digital once, and he's now mistaken me for them twice.
Credit to the man either way, it's a nice human touch, to give the time of day to people you're pretty sure you've met, but aren't quite sure how.

Before I saw Paul Jackson, I was texting the producer of BBC Three's Ideal in ITV reception, just as Ash Atalla headed through the Fort Knox secure end turnstile and said good morning to Jon Snow, which I think you'll agree is so very nearly show biz that I could just be one of those failed Zeppetronites or sub-celebs... if I worked at it.
I say Fort Knox, it's more like a tube station but they're similar enough these days, though I suspect you're more likely to meet Honor Blackman at ITV or Fort Knox than an Underground barrier.
ITV visitors have passes that are one trip only and snatched away as they exit, staffers have exciting Oyster card like passes that let them go in and out at will. This system allows the company to be confident of exactly who's in there and prevents the rest of us keeping any Mr Benn style mementos of our adventure and is to be applauded.

Ash Atalla was one of the producers of The Office, of course. You may remember him best as a presenter of Channel 4's Freak Out, but that's just you being willfully obscure, which I like you all the more for.
Ash once called me up with some comments on a script when he was a comedy development reader for the BBC, I forget what the comments were, bar "no ta", they were constructive certainly, but you could almost hear his glee at catching the answer 'phone rather than a real disappointed writer, it must be an awful job having to develop comedy writers. No one wants to hear the word "but".
I later sat a desk next to Ash, working on the forgettable BBC Choice comedy chat show that came before the forgettable BBC 3 comedy chat show on which Matt Lucas and David Walliams did the Lou Reed and Andy Warhol sketches that became Lou and Andy in Little Britain.
That's one pretty fast track and derailed life style, eh?

"What's it like being famous?"
"Well, it's not like in your day, you know."


Pebble said...

Answer 'phone?

You cannot say answer 'phone.

You can say ansaphone(TM) if you are so inclined, or teleansweriser if you are not. But not answer 'phone.

Don't make me come up there.

IZP said...

"Ansaphone"- you expect me to use a neologism like that when I'm still fighting to keep the actually quite ugly composite word "weblog" from fraying at its front end?
The word 'phone shall keep its apostrophe 'round these parts 'til a better doomed affectation comes along or we're all using some kind of sky typing instead of telephones (though we'll probably have to use some absurd coinage like "Skype" for that).

Tsk, this world.

Stuart Douglas said...

Skype = sky typing? Really? I never knew that.

It's educational, this weblog.

IZP said...

Erm, if it does come from "sky typing" then it's both stupid and a very lucky guess on my part.
Still, even if all you learn here is that you're dangerously credulous, you're still very lucky. Believe me.

Stuart Douglas said...

As though I've only just learned that I'm dangerously credulous...