My Interview on National Television
The Story that has never been heard
|Back in the Summer of 1996 I returned
from a Holiday in Devon, logged on to my PC and downloaded my email.
Among the Red Dwarf mailing list and guestbooks info was one very
strange item. This one was from Wingham Rowan. It seemed he liked my
pages and was fasinated by everything I had created regarding Chris
Barrie. He presented a Television Programme in the UK called CyberCafe
on Meridan TV during the ealy hours of the morning.
They were in the middle of their first series and wanted me to go to London for an interview. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect. I'd seen a couple of the shows and they seemed a little crazy. It all seemed like a lot of fun, so, I thought, why not. I couldn't go on the first suggested, so I arranged for another day in December.
20th December 1996. It was a cold winters day and everybody was getting ready for Christmas. My friend Tim ( I was Best Man at his Wedding ) drove me to London for my big day. I didn't fancy the hassle and didn't really want to muck about with Trains as I had no idea what was going to happen or how long it was going to take. A short walk from the Victoria Tube Station was the Cafe I was looking for, I walked in.
The front was a typical Cafe, chairs, tables, a display of food behind glass, I called see the kitchen and some more seating round the far side of the room. Everything was lit up by floodlights in the corner and group of people sat smoking or drinking coffee. I wandered over and found Rowan. Scripts and electrical cables were everywhere and although they were using it as a studio, the cafe was open as normal. This side of the Cafe had several computers and a few punters stuffed a current bun in their mouths with one hand and typed on a keyboard with the other, around them the crew attempted to get their cameras working. Judging by the way they were hitting them it wasn't going as it should.
I was early and it was almost lunchtime, I was ushered to a table and a makeup woman came over and took the shine from my face. I was all made up and now all I had to do was wait. The food and drink were free, but, waiting there I was so nervous I could not eat or drink anything. For those who know me, that may seem hard to believe, but, it's true. Cakes, Pies and then the cooked food, I seemed to sit there for hours, infact it was hours.
They'd had a lot of problems, but now the cameras were rolling. They filmed about 20 episodes in two or three days. I watched while they did different opening lines and loads of group shots used in the end sequences. I looked at the programme after it was done and there I was in the background. I reckon I could be in about a 12 episodes, as the guy in the green jumper in the corner table.
From the chaos I saw in the morning it was all starting to fit together. Using two cameras they panned round the people they interviewed and each rolled on very quickly. Although being the first there I was one of the last to be done. It seemed mainly due to the fact that I kept quite in the corner, maybe they had forgotten about me. I don't think they so. I discovered the other guests weren't all for the show I was in and my Chris Barrie Pages seemed fairly normal to everybody else.
The woman next to me was on a Crash diet course of eating as much as possible, one person there was taking about hacking and another girl was describing how she broke into public buildings to use their Internet access. Another man was a porn finder for a company and another spoke about herbal solutions to virtually everything you could think of. They were all very interesting and I had no idea how my pages had sparked so much interest.
I discovered it was the way I had written about him and pretending to be the Brittas character that had interested Rowan, plus the amount of interest from Women suprised him and the fact that they thought I was Chris Barrie writing under an alias made it a good story. This all came out just before the interview.
Then it was my turn. I had two guys interviewing me and we had a chat first on how it would go. they had a series of questions. Mainly why was I doing this and what I liked about the man. I was asked to do a Brittas impression which I did better in practice than I did on film, I wasn't there to do impressions. I had to screw my face up like the first picture you see on this page.
Sitting round the table with my heart pounding, the lights were and the cameras were put in place. I'd been wired and had one of the mike packs in my back pocket, which I almost say on and destroyed. They proceeded to place several framed pictures on the table infront of me. Infact these are the ones you see on this page, all featuring Brittas. They are very good and I was touched when they gave them to me. Thanks again guys.
The questions went well the nerves calmed down and then this happened. "Well, we've in touch with Chris Barrie via his agent and we have forwarded him copies of your page and is very impressed, infact quite flattered that somebody has taken this much interest. Although not into computers he is interested in the appeal of the internet and would me to contact him." Well I was stunned and on air I was handed a card with all his agent details on it. My nerves had gone and all was right with the world, I didn't know quite what to say. All I had to do was a final line of Smoke me a Kipper and that was it. But of fraction of a second my mind was blank, what was the ending. I felt my heart skip a beat, but, then it came back to me, almost mucked it all up.
It was a great day, Tim appeared from his shopping trip and it took us fours hours to get out of the centre of London, but I didn't care.
I tried a couple of time to call Chris' agent without success and even sent a fax but nothing ever came back. I don't know what happened.
Well that was my claim to fame, hope you enjoyed it. Any comments or questions please contact me I'd be happy to talk to you