Tag Archives: The Big Breakfast

Two Big Breakfasts, Thank Goodness

12 Mar
English: Richard Bacon, former Blue Peter pres...

English: Richard Bacon, former Blue Peter presenter. Cropped from original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The alarm woke us at about three a.m.  It could have been four or even five a.m. All I know is, it was way too a.m. for me; and I am an early bird by inclination.  

Unsure if anyone would put make-up on me, I put make-up on me.  As it turned out, no one did put make-up on me except me, so I was glad I’d had the four a.m. thought.

A driver collected us at half-past dawn in a fancy Jaguar and told us – upon request – about the famous people he had carried.  He may have been indiscreet but I was too snoring to take it in.  It is irrefragable that I was excited, but it was hard to tell over my closed eyes and open mouth.

He was Richard Bacon’s driver and I sat in Richard Bacon’s seat.  A little light was on – whether that was for Richard (I don’t want to keep writing ‘Richard Bacon’; do you think I should write ‘Dick Pig’ for short?  Hmm…maybe not)…RB’s light was on, perhaps for him to read the day’s script or newspapers; possibly for the paparazzi to spot him, because it had just come out that he was dating Blue Peter’s Konnie Huq.  I turned it off – I can’t abide an unnecessary light and it was doubtful – nay, certain – if any paparazzi would be interested in me.  Besides, it was keeping me awake.

We drove through burned out, abandoned cars to reach the business park where the studio was situated.  Ah, the glamour of breakfast television!  We received a warm and friendly welcome and instructions to help ourselves to tea, coffee, cereal and toast – made on a conveyor belt-type toasting machine thingy that I couldn’t work out.  I set off the smoke alarm.

We were trotted down to TBB house just before the seven a.m. kick-off.  It was surprisingly small and extremely grubby – I needn’t have worried about the corner behind the wine rack on the top kitchen cupboard in my house; even unwiped it was cleaner than TBB’s carpet.

Dirt was soon forgotten – we had a riot!  Utter chaos but great fun: we (everyone there, not just us) were shuffled from room to room between adverts and videos. We met TV presenters Richard Bacon, Amanda Byram and Lisa Rogers (then dating Ralf Little).  We were interviewed in a section called Dish the Dirt,  in the kitchen – having first been warned not to drink the orange juice after Day One, because it was the same glass all week.

English: Amanda Byram in July 2010.

English: Amanda Byram in July 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the stuff we told about each other:

  • The Hub won 10kg of cheese in a game show
  • He told a dentist, You hurt me; I’ll hurt you.
  • Tilly has smelly feet and refuses to get rid of her old slippers
  • She asked a shop assistant where they kept the tins of cauliflower
  • Tory Boy was catapulted from his pram and landed face down in the gravel (which explains a lot)
  • Spud told Michael Barrymore (another TV show; another story), that when Tilly breaks wind they all have to wear gas masks (his brother put him up to that one)

There were other guests that morning and after the show we all sat down together – cast, crew, guests – to eat…you guessed it – a big breakfast!  A proper cooked English breakfast with all the trimmings.  Staff had to pay but guests got it for free, which was just as well because I’d been up since stupid o’clock and Spud was starting to look tasty.

After breakfast, someone gave us a wad of cash for our expenses (meals, drinks, spending money) and a driver took four grinning but tired Northerners back to their hotel to recover from the excitement.

Coming Up: An Afternoon Out.  

Stay Tuned!

Also coming this week:

  • Spud and a Cast of Thousands in The Tempest
  • My Mother’s Day Highlights 
  • A Day Trip To Carlisle

Handsel: To use, try or experience for the first time, like me not eating breakfast until 9:30.


How To Get On Television – A True Story

10 Mar

I thought for part three (?) (I’ve lost track.  I suspect some of you have lost the will to live) of the story – because I’ve had a happy but busy day, it’s late and I’m too tired to be original – I would post something I wrote ten years ago.  In my defence, I haven’t c+p because I didn’t know how to save documents on a computer back then, so I dug out the original and typed it up in my own fair hand whilst cursing you and wishing for my bed.

How To Get On Television

  • Be green or, as some section of the atrociously wicked (facinorous) print media would have it, mean.

    Channel 4's logo is now cut out from a white b...

    Channel 4’s logo is now cut out from a white background, and is shown in moving distortions that reveal programme-specific graphics underneath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Be completely misrepresented in a certain Sunday piece of trash writing tabloid jerk newspaper (bitter? Not at all).
  • Answer the door to a stranger who turns out to be a neighbour.
  • Listen in increasing astonishment as the neighbour asks if it’s true we are ex-directory and were in The Certain Sunday Piece of Trash Writing Tabloid Jerk Newspaper because if so it’s not a wind-up and the people at Channel Four’s The Big Breakfast went to the trouble of tracking down her number to ask her to ask me will I please phone this number at The Big Breakfast if I want to be on telly?
  • Immediately phone The Big Breakfast because I want to be on telly.
  • Hear a total stranger (not a neighbour) offer me and my family a week in London, on the telly, all expenses paid; day trips out and famous people thrown in.
  • Say yes.
  • Complete the application forms that arrive in next day’s post.  With difficulty, because my nails are chewed down to the knuckles in the fear that it really is a wind-up.
  • Wait.
  • Wait.
  • Swear one or two hundred of my closest friends to secret because I’ll burst if I don’t tell someone.
  • Wait.
  • Go 93 hours without sleep.
  • Wait.
  • Answer the phone to hear Scott say, Hello, this is Scott from The Big Breakfast.  We’ve decided not to use your family next week.
  • Be cool and laid back about being rejected and humiliated, not act like some pathetic gangrel, begging for a chance to be famous for five times fifteen minutes: Okay, fine.
  • Baffled silence.
  • Let Scott confuse me: So is Thursday night all right for us to come and film?
  • Be sorry: I’m sorry?
  • Let Scott confuse me some more: We’d like to come and film you all at home on Thursday, or possibly Friday.
  • Be less sorry: Sorry?  Did you say you DO want to use us next week?
  • Fall in love with Scott: Yes, that’s right.  I thought you didn’t react much.  Are you excited?
  • Be cool and laid back about being selected; I am British, after all: Oh, yes.  It should be nice.
  • Put down the phone.
  • Wish I’d remembered to say ta-ra to Scott first.  Oh well, he has my number; and my neighbour’s.
  • Run around the room in an orgasmic frenzy chanting, I’m going to be telly!  I’m going to be on telly!
  • Finally get Andy Warhol.
  • Spend from now until Friday morning cleaning the house; and then cleaning it again.  I may be green and mean but I’m not dirty.  Not when I’m expecting film crews, anyway.
  • Ignore the Hub when he tells me I’m overdoing it – it is perhaps just a teeny-weeny bit slightly maybe possible that they will want to film the far corner behind the wine rack on the top kitchen cupboard, so it’s good to be prepared.
  • Glow like a clean house with excitement.
  • Answer the door to the film crew…

Look out for part four tomorrow, in which I tease out the details some more, in the hope of stretching this story to a full week’s worth of blog posts.

As a sweetener, the Hub has promised to try to upload some of the video from our week on The Big Breakfast.

And remind me to explain the tea bags, which I realise I haven’t yet done.

I Was Accidentally On Telly

8 Mar
Why is it that the vast majority of sycamores ...

Why is it that the vast majority of sycamores cannot grasp even the most basic economic principles? (Photo credit: one percent for the planet)

Many years ago, that was; I’m not referring to my most recent appearance, in the audience of the first leaders’ debate during the 2010 General Election campaign: blink and you missed me.

I was reminded of my week on telly by yesterday’s prompt about a surreal experience.  It’s quite a long story so go and have your wee first.

I’m a big fan of saving the planet.  I’m in favour of breathable air, water for all and not buying a new thing until the old thing dies, is dismantled and the parts used for shelves, dusters and magazine holders.  My tea caddies are old coffee jars, so I practise what I preach.

In 2001 Stockport council sent out questionnaires asking what residents did in the way of being green.  I told them.  In detail.

Reserved: Hybrid vehicles only

Reserved: Hybrid vehicles only (Photo credit: kevin dooley)

A couple of months later they contacted me and asked if our family would be willing to take part in their upcoming Cleaner, Greener campaign.  ‘Sure,’ I said.  We were interviewed and photographed for a brochure and invited to the campaign’s launch at the art gallery in January 2002.  I wore a dressy frock purchased in a charity shop for £3; the boys wore hand-me-downs and the Hub a favourite old jacket. We looked very smart when we were presented as Stockport’s Greenest Family.

I was interviewed for Radio Manchester or something like that.  I’ll be honest, I was flattered but incoherent.  When the producer asked what kind of thing I do to save the planet, I babbled on about washing on cold and folding wet washing and only ironing one side, but not necessarily in that order and interspersed with more than the necessary number of ums, ahs and ers.  I can still see her resigned smile and hear the click of the delete button as I turned away.

Material Wealth. Fear of Loss

Material Wealth. Fear of Loss (Photo credit: HikingArtist.com)

There was a small article in the Stockport Express and that, I thought, was that.  We’d had the fun of a cultural night out at the art gallery.  So cultural, I thought the refreshments were a modern art display until the guests attacked them. We ate our fill, drank expensive swill (Cleaner, Greener but not Cheaper, Cheaper) went home and thought nothing more of it.  

Until the day the phone rang and I had a moment of entelechy.

You know what?  This is such a long story, I think I’ll leave it there for now. More tomorrow!


Yesterday’s word was, of course dacnomania:  an obsession with killing, often by biting.  That explains my Twilight fixation.

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