Those of you who get your kicks on BBC2 might have noticed a documentary on Christmas Eve entitled The Many Faces of Les Dawson. If you watched it, you might have noticed this herbert.
The nicest part of being involved with the documentary was when the producer, Charlie Stuart, asked if I had a copy of the audition report I mentioned while being interviewed. I replied that I did, and after Charlie cleared it with Caversham, my wee digital snapette of the official response to Les Dawson’s first BBC audition made it into the documentary. My tiny Kodak doing Ken Morse out of a job, there.
Meanwhile, Dawsonians in need of a further fix should watch Celebrity Mastermind tomorrow night, as actor/comedian/nice chap Justin Moorhouse has chosen Les as his specialist subject.
Cheeseford Virtual Archive TV Advent Calendar day 24
There at last, and only a day late. Have a complete programme, because it’s bloody great. Johnny Mercer singing his own stuff in slightly funked up style with the Harry Roche Constellation. This is what they want.
Cheeseford Virtual Archive TV Advent Calendar day 23
For day 23, we head to the BBC Television Theatre for the last Wogan to come from the venerable pile before it reverted to being the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. In this clip, Charlie Drake is talking about the night he got pulled through a book case with hilarious and painful consequences. There is a degree of conjecture as to whether the shelf was secured deliberately or not. A far from popular character, wee Charlie…
Cheeseford Virtual Archive TV Advent Calendar day 22
Oh look, it’s Christmas Day and we’re still on day 21. Best advent calendar ever. Following BBC2’s Many Faces of Les Dawson earlier, let’s see Les with Stewart Morris and Bobby Bragg after the 1990 live final of Opportunity Knocks. It captures something that many people told me about Les when I was researching my forthcoming book. If you were in the band or on the crew, he was one of you, with no starriness. Just watch him miming a swagger for the benefit of the band, gently taking the mickey out of Morris. Morris and Dawson held each other in very high regard as professionals, and were good friends. As the star, Dawson had a licence to joke about Morris’ fearsome reputation, and he used it. That’s the measure of the man. Everybody loved him, and I think this goes some way to show why.
Cheeseford Virtual Archive TV Advent Calendar day 20
For day 20, here’s a snippet from the recording I made when I interviewed legendary BBC LE producer Stewart Morris in 2005 for my book Turned Out Nice Again. It concerns a certain Welsh diva and an oil rig in the North Sea.
For day 19, another story from the BBC TV sound department. I’m not sure who told me, but it might have been the aforementioned Peter Neill. Or it might have been Bernie Newnham, proprietor of the Tech Ops site and former producer. It was a while ago now. It concerns sound supervisor Dickie Chamberlain, the man who did the exemplary balance on the recently-recovered David Bowie ‘Jean Genie’ clip (Much kudos to ex-cameraman and creator of the famous TOTP optical effects John Henshall for keeping the tape safe all these years). He liked his monitors quite loud, and, on one show, there was a little leakage into an adjacent room. The occupants rang Dickie in his room and complained that it was too loud. His reply: “If you think it’s loud where you are, you should come up here and hear it.”
Cheeseford Virtual Archive TV Advent Calendar day 18
Look, I’m sorry, OK? Playing catch up now, and you will get full value, I promise. I’ve been busy, y’see? For day 18, let’s have Gilbert Harding’s stab at pop stardom from a 1953 Philips 78 (blue label, obviously). Over a decade after I found it in a box at the Musical Museum in Brentford, that 10 inches of shellac represents the best 10p I’ve ever spent.
An anecdote for day 17, told to me by my friend Peter Neill (BBC TV sound department – ret’d) at yesterday’s Tech Ops lunch. After rehearsals on a show from the BBC Television Theatre, sound supervisor Hugh Barker turned to lighting man Dickie Higham and remarked “I hope the show goes well”. Higham replied that it was strange to hope for such a thing given how much rehearsal and planning had gone into it. “Ah, but it’s different for you,” Barker observed, “Your lights don’t go to the pub in the supper break and come back shining brighter.”
Cheeseford Virtual Archive TV Advent Calendar day 16