Friday, June 30, 2006

I heart Inspector Morse

On Monday I'm making a daytrip to Durham for a talking heads documentary about Inspector Morse. I've been interviewed for TV a few times over the years, even appearing BBC News 24 once [although nobody mistook me for an expert on the internet, strangely enough - or offered me a job in the Beeb's IT department]. The strangest experience was in 1997 when 2000 AD was publishing B.L.A.I.R. 1, a satirical swipe at the then newly elected Prime Minister. I wrote a spoof of the old 2000 AD series M.A.C.H. 1 [itself a less than subtle swipe of the hit TV series The Six Million Dollar Man], turning Tony Blair into a hyper-powered bionic agent controlled by an artificial intelligence known as Doctor Spin.

Back in 1997 the new Labour government was still enjoying its honeymoon period with the media, so 2000 AD's satirical barbs were both fresh and newsworthy. The comic got a lot of free publicity and even featured in an edition of Have I Got News For You. Anyway, Sky News wanted to film me in the editorial office, close to Russell Square. It was the depths of winter, dark outside and snowing, so the interview was set up bside my desk on the first floor. The OB van was parked outside with cables running up the wall and in through the window by my desk. To get the lighting and angle just how the director wanted them, I got wedged in an uncomfortable corner next to the open window, standing on one leg. I was given an earpiece that supplied me with the studio feed, so I could hear what the anchors were saying, along with the rantings of the Sky gallery.

By the time the interview began, I'd been waiting twenty minutes, trying to look calm, cool and casual. Snow was billowed in through the window and slowly covering my desk, threatening to short circuit my computer. The one leg I was standing on was frozen while my face was being baked by the glaring light mounted atop the camera. I could hardly hear the questions being asked and was painfully conscious of everybody else in our open plan office trying to get on with their jobs. Somehow I stumbled through the interview without making an utter prat of myself and it was over in about 90 seconds. My brief brush with fame vanished far quicker than the 15 minutes Andy Warhol promised we'd all have in the future. So not expecting Monday's excursion to Durham to be any different. Hopefully they'll let me sit down this time.

TV - not glamorous at all, sadly.

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