Backstage Tales From Bland TV #1: The One Show’s Christmas Party
In the first of his short stories based on the backstage antics of bland TV shows, Shaun Ponsonby imagines the events surrounding The One’s Show’s Christmas party.
The show had been a success.
Millions of bored people had tuned in to the programme sans irony, despite the fact that you would have to be a sociopath to find any of the items remotely interesting.
Since it was the last show before Christmas, all the presenters and reporters had agreed to go on a Christmas night out, even though they had nothing in common and possessed all the chemistry of an empty box that was supposed to house a child’s chemistry set.
They were discussing where they should go. So much work had gone into securing five star guests like Lisa Riley and Howard from the Halifax ads that they didn’t have a chance to think about where they would reluctantly hang out for a few hours before making excuses and leaving.
Alex Jones had the first wild idea. “Let’s go shopping for wall paper!” she beigely exclaimed.
“No!” yelled Dominic Littlewood, with panic in his eyes. “It’s only 7.30. We don’t want to peak too early.”
Matt Allwright didn’t speak very often, probably out of embarrassment as he was named after Michael Barrymore‘s catchphrase. He was in he studio tonight as he had presented a feature about a taxidermist in Watford, who operated out of a taxi. You would flag down his so-called Taxi-dermy, head to where you were going and get a stuffed owl or something at the end.
He was feeling confident after everyone feigned interest in the piece and chose to pipe up; “Maybe we should invite Leo Sayer,” he suggested.
Sayer had been a guest on the evening’s show. It was a contractually obliged appearance by his record company to promote a new Greatest Hits album he didn’t even want released. They were unsure if he would want to the join them as he appeared bored throughout the programme and didn’t look remotely bothered when Alex tried to engage him in conversation about the mind numbing feature they ran on balloons. He also reluctantly sang along to a backing track of You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. There was an audience of pensioners bussed in from Kent who clapped along politely, but were really just there because it was free. None of them asked him for a photo.
Angela Rippon approached Leo. It was decided she should do it, as they once appeared on an episode of Kenny Everett’s Video Show together back in the 70s.
“Leo, would you like to come and buy wallpaper with the team? It’s our Christmas night out,” she enquired.
“I didn’t even want to come on this massively shit fucking Eye on Springfield show, you stupid twatweasel. Why would I want to hang out with any of you for any longer than I fucking well have to?”
Angela burst out crying. She wasn’t accustomed to having people actually display personality on set, let alone express a feeling with passion.
Matt Baker consoled her. “How do you sleep at night?” he asked Leo. This had become something of a catchphrase for Matt after him asking former Prime Minister David Cameron the question became the only remotely interesting moment in the show’s entire history – along with the time guest host Angela Scanlon accidentally said “Clit”.
The rest of the crew were accustomed to it by now and raised their eyes. They were fed up with Matt. He repeated the line at least once a day, and it was usually accompanied by an overwrought and undeserved look of pride.
“Give it a rest, Matt,” said Gyles Brandreth. “That was six years ago.”
Ultimately Leo‘s outburst put the rest of the crew off from their wild night of shopping for wallpaper, so Alex went on her own. Since it was Christmas, there was late night shopping, so she went to Homebase.
During her trip she saw a drill, and had an idea for a feature about the history of drills. It would be on the first show of the new year, sandwiched between an interview with comedian Lee Mack and a piece about euthanasia.
Next time: Richard and Judy – An Odyssey of Love