Tag Archives: BBC

1982 ➤ “Who?!” Peter Capaldi’s first interview (probably) as a green young stand-up

Peter Capaldi, 1980s, interview,audio, Spandau Ballet, Doctor Who, stand-up, comedy,

Capaldi learning the ropes as a comic: Live onstage supporting Spandau Ballet in 1982. (Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s)

Peter Capaldi, interview,audio, Doctor Who, TV, scifi, BBC,

Capaldi and his new Tardis: the 12th Doctor Who. (Photo © BBC/Guy Levy)

◼ “KIDS THREW ORANGES AND COINS at me in Brighton. It’s the first time I’ve tapped into that iceberg of sympathy.” Such was the welcome the 23-year-old Scot, Peter Capaldi, received on his first serious outing as a stand-up comedian supporting Spandau Ballet’s first national concert tour in 1982. I’d been bowled over by his high-octane act a week earlier in Manchester and now the tour was winding up in Bournemouth where I’d come for its Easter weekend finale. His energetic performance suggested an interview was going to be fun, and I’d snapped some onstage pictures that spookily presage an aspect of Capaldi that was to win a Bafta award later in his career.

So here we were in 1982 in the Royal Exeter hotel talking about his lucky break earlier on the same tour – being spotted supporting Spandau’s Glasgow gig by film producer Bill Forsyth who also recognised talent writ large. One result was me resting my notebook on a thumping fat filmscript titled Local Hero, and the other was Capaldi admitting: “I’m terrified of starting this film – standing in front of a camera.”

Oh the irony. Tonight Peter Capaldi, now 56, stepped into the best role in British television to play the 12th Doctor Who – a rendering as fierce and dotty as any who went before. Today too I finally found my long-lost notes from the first interview he’d given as an unknown comic, plus the cassette tape of our very relaxed conversation about his days at Glasgow School of Art, singing with a local band, and his yen to try comedy, inspired by 1981’s nationwide tour by Rik Mayall and the Comic Strip team, who a year later leapt onto British television screens on Channel 4’s opening night.

Local Hero, 1983, Peter Capaldi, Burt Lancaster , Peter Riegert, movies, Bill Forsyth

Local Hero, 1983: Peter Capaldi with Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert, a gentle Scottish comedy directed by Bill Forsyth

For Capaldi’s debut in autumn 1981, he had invented a dim character called Fraser Meaky after thinking “I can’t go onstage as myself!” but then Gary Kemp’s circle of Spandau friends, who did not want another band supporting their tour, asked him to be a comedy warm-up before the main event. Fraser was shed in favour of a much more frenetic onstage Capaldi wearing a distressed old showbiz tuxedo, the humour retuned to lampooning the ego maniacs in politics and pop.

Recently, he had been compering a Monday live band night at a Glasgow club. “I like fast clean idea jokes, like Steve Martin,” he said. “The trouble with Glasgow is that it’s a small audience and every time you play you face the same crowd so you have to invent new material. After three weeks I couldn’t think of any more jokes, so it fell through.” How he solved this dilemma was revealed as we spoke. More of the interview will follow soon, meanwhile listen to our chat.

AUDIO CLIP FROM OUR 1982 INTERVIEW:

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➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: How Clare Grogan’s pop entourage put Capaldi on the road, plus an audio track with his band The Dreamboys

➢ Catch Doctor Who series 8 on BBC iPlayer for two months

Doctor Who

Rare self-deprecation: Click pic to view Doctor gifs at thespoonmissioner

➢ Sept update: The new Doctor joins Denzel Washington and Gemma Arterton on BBC1’s Graham Norton Show, 26 Sept – Peter Capaldi’s debut alongside Jenna Coleman was the most watched Doctor Who opening episode in four years, with 9.2million UK viewers.

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➤ The Voice’s rock god Lovatt surprises Britain and shocks himself

Jamie Lovatt

Moment of triumph on The Voice Feb 22: Kylie, Will, Ricky and Tom (in there somewhere), all wanting a piece of Jamie Lovatt. Screengrab © BBC

➢ Watch Jamie’s Voice performance in full plus the judges’ verdicts on BBC iPlayer until April 12 (scroll to 58 minutes)

❚ “I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS GOING to turn round and see this rock god dude!” said Kylie Monogue on The Voice UK on Saturday night. The dude in question had delivered his own steady but highly emotional and emphatically rock reinterpretation of Rozalla’s acid house smash Everybody’s Free to his own twangy Rickenbacker guitar. By his hollering climax the studio audience were on their feet and two of The Voice’s four celebrity coaches had spun their chairs in hopes of recruiting him: superstar Kylie Minogue and Ricky Wilson (“the bloke from Kaiser Chiefs”). Within minutes the dude had opted to join Ricky’s team as its final member, before the BBC TV talent contest’s real battles begin next week.

An hour after transmission he posted on Facebook: “Who saw me then eh? SURPRISE.” Jamie Lovatt, cocky 24-year-old face about Shoreditch where he runs a bar, was back. The frontman for the once glam-goth band Romance, since restyled as tribal “cabaret rockers”, had definitely stolen the show, even though the acts auditioning blind on Saturday were a cut above previous weeks, because most proved to be seasoned performers with terrific voices. This dude also looked like nobody else within miles – an eyeful of androgynous 80s glam, Jamie sported long blond hippy hair and eyeliner, a gold crocheted clingy top, snakeskin trousers and cowboy boots. His style is a fusion of Prince, Billy Idol and the 80s postpunk shamanists Death Cult, though the TV audience was spared his usual stage gambit of performing shirtless.

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For those of us who’ve known Jamie since he deejayed in London’s fashionable Neo Romantic clubs, the fierce TV act was a surprise metamorphosis from the once shy teenager (off-stage!), through the frenetic vocalist onstage with Romance, to this assured showcase cover version bursting with intense feeling which Kylie and the other coaches sensed immediately. Almost 90 seconds into the number, Ricky hit the voting button and six seconds later Kylie followed.

She was full of admiration: “I liked the emotion in your voice. I don’t know if you always sing like that but the fact that you have the ability to sing like that is very moving.”

What set Jamie’s interview apart was the sadness that brimmed within him as he told how Romance’s first lineup had been torpedoed by ill health and their four-album record deal was cancelled when the label dropped the band in 2011. “I lost management, I lost everything.” But not his faith to carry on.

The coaches rallied. Will-i-am said: “As far as getting dropped, guess what? They lost.” And the audience cheered. Tom Jones paid a couple of quiet complements that were evidently heartfelt. Ricky had been there himself: “I know what you’ve been through. I’m in a band… and we lost a record deal.” Lucky Jamie was able to pick which team to join and as he stepped from the stage it was noticeable how all four coaches crowded in for a piece of him. He’d been dignified, determined and, incredibly, said “Thank you” more times than you’d expect from a self-declared “lone wolf” rocker.

Some think a shiny-floor TV talent show might undermine a rock singer’s credibility, but Jamie is a 21st-century man and believes it’s the only way to crack the industry these days. He told The Sun: “People don’t think of someone like Jagger or Jim Morrison going on these shows but if you were to take them at the age they were discovered and have them living now, would that happen?”

Today was spent doing the rounds of the media as a hot TV property. What’s the question they were all asking? Answer: “How did it feel?” Jamie told Shapersofthe80s: “All I can say is it was surreal then, and from all the support I have received, it’s even more surreal now! Absolutely overwhelming, humbling and shocking. I can’t thank everyone enough… Didn’t think this would happen at all. I’m really moved!”

➢ Catch Jamie Lovatt and his new “glam-noir” lineup Romance Mk2 playing live in London during March and April

EVERYBODY’S FREE: BRIEF CLIP FROM THE VOICE

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➤ The day the Royal We photobombed the Beeb

➢ Yesterday the Queen officially opened the BBC’s rebuilt Broadcasting House from the Radio 4 studio of the Today programme … She then took a tour of the new £1 billion empire which is now London home to more than 30 domestic and World Service radio stations, three 24-hour TV news channels, all of the BBC’s main news bulletins and is the workplace for 6,000 BBC staff from television, radio, news and online services… / Continued with video report at BBC online

1 – Live on the BBC’s rolling news channel: anchor Sophie Long has already noticed HMQ photobombing their bulletin as the Queen tours the newsroom at New Broadcasting House

1 – Live on the BBC’s rolling news channel: anchor Sophie Long has already noticed HMQ photobombing their bulletin as the Queen tours the newsroom at New Broadcasting House

2 – Live on air: co-anchor Julian Worricker turns his back on the viewers to loyally give HMQ a bow from the neck. This instantly raises a huge burst of cheers and waves from the 300 hundred journalists throughout the BBC newsroom

2 – Live on air: co-anchor Julian Worricker turns his back on the viewers to loyally give HMQ a bow from the neck. This instantly raises a huge burst of cheers and waves from the 300 journalists on their feet throughout the BBC newsroom

3 – Live on air: For 30 protracted seconds amid gales of laughter nobody flinches in what the commentator Simon McCoy described as “one of the most bizarre bits of television that the BBC has produced” (an observation hoovered out of the BBC’s own coverage today!)

3 – Live on air: For 30 protracted seconds amid gales of laughter nobody flinches in what the commentator Simon McCoy described as “one of the most bizarre bits of television that the BBC has produced” (an observation hoovered out of the BBC’s own coverage today!). Against protocol, star-struck hacks start waving camphones in the air and photobomb the photobomb. Veteran political editor John Sergeant later pronounced the event a “royal love-in” – despite the fact the anchors brazenly remained seated in the presence of the monarch!

4 – Live on air: “Who, me?” Somebody finally enlightens HMQ that one is in fact being seen by millions and the rolling news transmission has come to a grinding standstill. (Videograbs from BBC)

4 – Live on air: “Who, me?” Somebody finally enlightens HMQ that one is in fact being seen by millions and the rolling news transmission has come to a grinding standstill. (Videograbs from BBC)

❏ Earlier on her tour of the BBC, the Queen visited Radio 1’s live studio [below] to listen to a young Irish band called The Script rendering Bowie’s “Heroes”. She did not appear to be amused, and there was almost a flash of the middle-aged Bowie in her face… Her Maj did thank the band warmly afterwards

Who is the least amused: Her Maj yesterday listening to the Bowie song "Heroes" or its author?

Who is the least amused: Her Maj yesterday listening to the Bowie song “Heroes” or its author who was miles away?

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2013 ➤ Remembering why Mick Ronson’s talent deserves to be celebrated

David Bowie, Mick Ronson

The day they signed to RCA, 1971: David Bowie and Mick Ronson in New York

➢ Tonight April 1: Songwriter Gary Kemp marks the
20th anniversary of the death of “the man who rode shotgun to Ziggy”– 10pm, BBC Radio 2, then on iPlayer

“That’s my Jeff Beck” – David Bowie after hearing
Ronson playing in The Hype, 1970

❏ Mick rose to fame as lead guitarist and music arranger on David Bowie’s albums, the missing link in creating the Bowie sound – those signature riffs. “As a guitar god, Ronno inspired a whole generation of guitarists,” says Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp. Mick was a born collaborator and all-round nice guy, and his amazing ability for interpreting and arranging songs soon found him in demand from some of the biggest names in rock, starting with Lou Reed on his album Transformer. Another outstanding Ten Alps documentary (worth hearing over a hifi system) sees a stellar cast of musicians including Chrissie Hynde, Tony Visconti, Ian Hunter, Trevor Bolder and Woody Woodmansey explaining why Mick is such an important figure in British rock’n’roll, while Kemp narrates… In 1992, diagnosed with cancer, Mick produced Morrissey’s album, Your Arsenal. The same year, Ronno’s final live performance was playing All the Young Dudes at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.

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➤ David Frost salutes TW3, the TV show that pioneered satire 50 years ago tonight

Hugh Carleton-Greene, David Frost, TW3, BBC, satire, 1960s,Private Eye, Bernard Levin, JFK, Christopher Booker, Millicent Martin,

Satirists on their firing range: at left, David Frost leads the TW3 team in the studio

❚ THE MOST INFLUENTIAL TV SERIES in British history – the lodestar for all future comedy, and more – won no fulsome retrospective from the BBC on its 50th anniversary today. Only a brief item on the Today show reminded us how the earth tilted at 10:30pm on this night in 1962 with the launch of TW3 – the adopted shorthand for That Was The Week That Was. New research reveals that this politically insolent television voice of Britain’s nascent satire movement attracted complaints by the thousand. “No other programme has so many files in its correspondence section,” we were told this morning by historian Morgan Daniels on the Today programme. What it had done, according to Private Eye’s first editor Christopher Booker in his landmark 1969 book The Neophiliacs, was finally to break free from the Presbyterian straitjacket of Lord Reith, the BBC’s founder. Within weeks pubs started emptying on Saturdays as the nation made a ritual of rushing home to catch TW3’s 37 broadcasts which grew an audience of 12 million in less than a year.

A galaxy of leading “Northern Realist” writers and national newspaper journalists contributed razor-sharp sketches and what little remains available on video makes today’s comedy seem lily-livered. TW3 made the career of Sir David Frost who was its “classless” front-man at the age of 23. Though many satirists say they achieve no lasting change, on tonight’s Loose Ends radio show, Frost insisted that satire does have a knock-on influence in its day, even if it may not reform legislation in the long term. TW3’s second series was curtailed on December 28, 1963, for fears it would unbalance the general election campaign of 1964.

Roy Kinnear, David Frost, Lance Percival, TW3, satire, 1960s

At the TW3 bar: Roy Kinnear, David Frost, Lance Percival

TW3 captured a zeitgeist unique to the 60s before they began to swing. Booker argued in The Neophiliacs: “It was a final drawing together of almost all those threads which had been working for ‘revolution’ and sensation in the England of the previous seven years.” [Namely, since the election of 1955 when slippage of the tectonic plates supporting Britain’s centuries-old class system saw the subsequent rise of the “unposh” intellectual and of John Osborne’s “angry young man”] … “[TW3] brought the destructive force of the satire craze to a mass audience.”

Britain was changing. Deference was on the way out, The Beatles were on their way in. The satire boom was in full swing…/ Continued inside

➢ Read on inside for a fuller analysis by Shapersofthe80s
of the 60s satire boom – plus a gallery of rarely seen images from TW3, and more vintage videos


❏ Year-ending round-up of TW3 highlights, Dec 1963 (above) – includes notorious Mississippi number with black-and-white minstrels in the week a white protester walking from Alabama to Jackson was shot dead by the road … The consumer guide to religion … Timothy Birdsall draws the Duke and Duchess of Eastbourne … MPs who have not spoken in Parliament are named and shamed … Bernard Levin harangues a pride of lawyers with their failings.

➢ Click through to compare and contrast the satirists of the 60s with the “alternative comics” of Alexei Sayle’s generation when they formed the Comic Strip – Analysis by Shapersofthe80s from 1980

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