Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Dick Bacon

Just had my hair cut ahead of tonight’s three hour bum ache as I host my first live radio phone-in. After a long debate with the barber about my suggestion that an Obama cut would symbolise the beginning of a new age of broadcasting, I eventually went with the old faithful of part-lift/half flop with a curl over the left lughole. It’s not a good idea to change a winning formula and I want to be at my familiar best when I take up the reigns of the Richard Bacon show on 5Live at 10pm.

Only, to be perfectly honest, the whole thing has already gone nipples vertical, as it were. It happened the moment I walked into the BBC studios this morning thinking I was about to have a chat with Richard about his show and all the innovations I want to bring to medium of radio.

I was met in the foyer by some small puff of a PR assistant who led me to a small office where she left me in the care of a young chap. He was typical of BBC researchers, sitting behind a PC and spending most of his hours searching YouTube.

I took a seat, smiled politely at him, before looking at my watch. I had a dinner appointment with the Ant percentage of Ant&Dec and I didn’t like to be left waiting. I suppose I’m also use to being the bigger fish over at the Channel 4 pond and now in Watch’s modestly sized aquarium. But, in the BBC, you’re always reminded that there are always bigger fish and that the name Madeley counts for very little in a waters dominated by the likes of Wossy and Clarkson.

So, I waited and waited and the young chap on the keyboard kept clicking away as he downloaded more inane clips of animals doing party tricks. All pleasant, I suppose, if you enjoy waiting for things to happen in the company of imbeciles. Only I’m not that kind of man. It wasn’t long before I began to huff and mutter as I repeatedly looked at my watch. My message seemed to get across. After a few minutes, this young upstart fellow says ‘fancy a drink?’

‘I suppose I do,’ I replied, looking again at my watch. ‘Coffee. Four sugars...’

And off he went as I carried on waiting for Bacon and growing more annoyed with each passing minute. Five more minutes pass before the youth comes back carrying something hot and sweet in polystyrene.

‘We’re all out of sugar so I had to use sweetener,’ he said as I set my lips to sipping java.

‘Sweetener!’ I tutted but it wasn’t a soft, slightly annoyed tut. This was the sort of tut that would shatter poorer quality porcelain. Thankfully, all my crowns are cast from Tungsten and have been given a glaze of the same ceramic they use on the Space Shuttle’s heat shield. My tuts are as hard as bullets. Especially in cold weather.

‘What’s wrong?’ he asked.

There was something about the youngster’s attitude I didn’t like.

‘You know what sweetener does to a man’s procreative orbs, don’t you?’ I asked, fixing him with a leathery eye. ‘I don’t suppose you do. Well let me tell you...’

I then launched into a five minute tirade about sweetener addiction and the effects it can have on a man’s most potent juices. Just as I was coming to the end via a small digression on the inefficiency of assistants in show business, the PR girl came in again.

‘You okay, Richard?’ she asked.

‘Okay?’ I spat my indignation. ‘Not when this loaf gives me sweetener in my coffee. My manliness diminishes with every second the stuff is in my system.’

She seemed unconcerned and turned to the loaf in question. ‘Richard? Is everything okay?’

‘Fine,’ says the loaf from behind his desk. ‘Could you please call security?’

‘Richard?’ I repeated as the girl headed off.

‘Richard Bacon,’ he said as he stood up, his knuckles white as he gripped the back of his chair.

‘Oh,’ I replied. ‘Bacon!’

‘Just like the meat.’

‘I see,’ I said. ‘So you’re Richard Bacon...’

‘Like the...’

‘Just like the meat.’ I laughed. ‘So you’re more meat than loaf...’ He didn’t seem to appreciate my play on words so I thought it best to get on with making an apology. ‘I’ve made an awful fool of myself,’ I said. ‘When they told me I was filling in for Richard Bacon, I think I must have been thinking about Richard Baker. Now I come to think of it, he must be getting on a bit to be hosting three hour talk shows past midnight...’

‘Lucky that he isn’t,’ said Bacon, who grew a little easier and lowered the chair from over his head. He took my hand in his and gave it the traditional BBC shake with his little finger tickling my wrist.

‘Sorry about that,’ I said. ‘It’s just that you look too young to have your own show on 5Live.’

‘I’m actually forty three,’ he answered, ‘but please keep that quiet. I’ve not undergone years of treatment with the goat glands to ruin the illusion.’

‘Oh, I know how to keep a secret,’ I said. Which is true. Nobody reads this bloody blog so anything I write here is as safe as if I’d announced it on a weeknight on Watch. ‘All I can say is that I hope I look as good when I’m forty three.’

In the end, I had a good half hour minute chat with Bacon about tonight’s show. I promised that I’ll be gentle with his guests and I won’t plug my highly acclaimed book, ‘Fathers & Sons’, more than ten times an hour after midnight. We parted as friends, with him enthusiastic about all of my innovations.

‘But remember what I said about the goat glands,’ he said. ‘Don’t mention them to a soul.’

‘You just go and enjoy your holiday,’ I said. ‘Leave the worrying to me. If playing Westlife albums backwards and live ritualistic invocations to the spirit of Marconi don’t drive up your ratings, I don’t know what will.’

He laughed like any carefree forty three year old would laugh when going on holiday and leaving his successful national radio show in the hands of a professional with a new haircut and a quiff or two of sexiness.


Lola said...

What do you mean, nobody reads your blog? Am I a nobody? And Raj Persaud? What about him, huh?

Although, I know nothing of the Richard Bacon you mention. Richard Baker, yes, he used to be on My Music, or was it Face the Music? Maybe I'm thinking of Robin Ray.

Now what was I doing?

Dick Madeley said...

Oh Lola. You know I didn't mean you. And I know you'll keep Richard's age just between the three of us.

Yes, Richard Baker was wonderful. Very classy. Very much in the Madeley mould, I feel.

What were you doing? I believe it was something involving a sponge pudding.

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