In the second in his series of imagined backstage stories from terrible TV shows, Shaun Ponsonby travels back to 1983 for an erotic, romantic epic set in the early days of Richard and Judy’s courtship.
The Granada studios were an exciting place to be on this particular Tuesday afternoon. Special guests were arriving, arguably the biggest television stars in the world; the cast of Dallas.
Judy was especially excited, but not for the Texan mob. Patrick Duffy was all well and good, but she had her sights set a little lower. A few months prior, she had been assigned to mentor a new staff member, and she had fallen desperately in love with him.
His name was Richard. He was sort of tall-ish with hair that was as brown as a twig and a sexy, thick Romford accent. Recently divorced, he had told Judy that he wished to make a fresh start and move on with his life. “I know where you can move on to,” Judy thought. “The apex of my legs!”
She dressed up for him today, wearing all the latest fashions; a rah-rah skirt, leg warmers and a T-shirt designed by Katharine Hamnett. By today’s standard she actually looked really fucking stupid, but believe it or not it was considered cool in 1983.
She was working behind the scenes, but Richard had been selected to interview the celebrities in their midst. He was known as a savage interviewer, and he aggressively confronted an unprepared Ken Kercheval on the fact that he had been in an episode of Kojak once.
This made Charlene Tilton chuckle, to which Richard looked her dead in the eye and shouted “What are you laughing at, you poisonous whore-dwarf?” Charlene started crying, and ran away. A confused Howard Keel followed her, singing Bless Your Beautiful Hide from the musical Seven Brides For Seven Brothers in her wake.
Having heroically interviewed the cast of Dallas for Granada Tonight, Richard walked off the set. His work was done, and he strolled into his dressing room with a sense of smug satisfaction that hasn’t fully left his face to this day.
Judy saw this as her chance. Obeying an instinct she hadn’t known she possessed, she followed Richard and knocked at his dressing room. As he opened the door, the unmistakable sound of Marilyn came blaring out of the radio.
“You were wonderful today,” she told him. “The way you handled Larry Hagman! You opened the door to my womanly secrets.”
Richard was genuinely confused; “What?”
Judy took the bobble out of her hair with a suggestive wink. It kind of got caught because her hair was a bit tatty. She threw her head back, hitting Richard in the eye with the extensions she had put in last week. He was oblivious to her advances and assumed she had lice that were bothering her, and that maybe one had fallen into her eye. That would explain the winking. “I think my sister has some Hedrin if you need it,” he offered.
“Richard, you lit my fiery furnace,” she said.
Richard was still confused. “Look, there really is no need to speak in riddles. It just wastes all of our time, Judy.”
“I WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU,” she growled impatiently.
“Well, there was no need for that,” Richard angrily exclaimed, before picking up his copy of the Daily Express from the top of the Breville sandwich toaster and scouring the letters page.
Was he playing hard to get, or was he really upset? She couldn’t tell.
At that precise moment, a different song began playing on the radio. It was Spandau Ballet’s Pleasure. She took this as a sign.
“Oh, Richard!” she cried, massaging his elbows – which was weird, because she had to do it from underneath his chair. Ideally, she’d have massaged his shoulders, but he was sitting next to an inconvenient shelf. “I cannot take this any longer – I must have you. I know you want me too. I saw the look on your face when I was talking to Gyles Brandreth. You were so jealous.”
“I can’t allow that,” said Richard sternly, like an irate bus conductor facing a ticket evader. “Look at this floor. Carpeted. I know it looks comforting and inviting, but I’m weary of the fact that we may receive some pretty nasty carpet burns. It would be extremely unwise of me to…possess your lily in here.”
“Then take me somewhere else, Richard. Don’t you like me?”
“I do, Judy. I’m sure it would be ruddy good intercourse.”
Richard started to relent, Judy’s slightly puffy face spoke to the hard pulse of his arousal. She could feel the tension reach breaking point, so took his hand, and placed them on her heaving breasts – the same ones that we would all see years later on the National Television Awards. They were a solid D, and Richard felt a swelling in his loins.
He awkwardly removed his pants, doing that weird hoppy thing you have to do sometimes when they get a bit caught on your foot, and exposed his virile masculinity.
At that moment, there was a knock on the door, because quite frankly I couldn’t go through with writing a sex scene starring Richard and Judy as it was making me feel a bit sick, and Richard’s virile masculinity really was the breaking point.
“Richard? Are you in there?” It was the producer, who we’ll call…I dunno…Jeff. “We need to record some nodding shots for this interview.”
Typical! Having finally succumbed to his attraction to Judy, he had been royally cock blocked by whatshisname (Jeff, was it?).
Richard looked deep into Judy’s eyes “I have to go. But I want you to know that I…I…”
Judy placed her sausage like finger over his lips, which made him look alarmingly like a sexy trout struggling past some seaweed. “You don’t have to say it, my darling. I know.”
“…I really don’t like hair extensions. They remind me of hay.”
He left in silence, the tender moment being ruined by the fact that he forgot to put his pants back on when he left the room.
Next time: Phillip Schofield – The Eyes of a Killer