Saturday, 30 August 2008

Sofa, so good

Sad to hear Fiona Phillips is finally leaving GMTV.

I worked with Fi at GMTV for six years I can testify that those morning starts and overnights are an absolute killer. Lord knows how she's managed 14 years

I remember getting calls from hacks after she and Martin sneaked off to get married in Las Vegas in 1997. I thought it was a wind up but when I rang Frizz, discovered it was true after all. I seem to recall he was a bit worried that people might think they were being a bit LA LA but they never did.

I have fond memories of GM (I met my lovely wife there) and have an awful lot of respect for Fi. She's a very canny and shrewd interviewer and broke the news that Diana had died to millions of viewers.

My twopenneth? I think Frizz and the director of programmes Peter McHugh - who gave me my first break in TV - should get a new presenter in. It's still a great show and even more than the Today programme helps shape the news agenda for the day.

Fi and Eammon were a fantastic double act - and very good journalists - but I think the show's lost a bit of sparkle since they split up. Chemistry is very important - you can't fake it.

She'll be a hard act to follow.

So enjoy the lie ins, Fi - and welcome to the rest of your life.

Friday, 29 August 2008

In this week's Heat magazine...

Yep, I have now seen everything.

I think you can guess what WTF stands for!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Karen's worth her weight in gold

Really pleased to hear Hull's judo legend Karen Briggs is is on the mend after being treated for breast cancer.

Karen runs a judo school on Fountain Road and remarkably hopes to be back on the mat in the next couple of weeks.

I always remember the 1992 Barcelona Olympics judo semi-final, when Karen dislocated her shoulder representing GB.

She could have given up but that wasn't a four time world champion does. So she just wrenched her shoulder back into her socket and carried on in excruciating pain.

Even thinking about it makes me wince, but by god, what a fighter and inspiration to young people.

All the best Karen.

Monday, 25 August 2008

I've been ad

Probably the cleverest ad in years because it doesn't appear to be an ad until the BIG reveal.

Ings Got Talent

Just heard that the kids from East Hull Urban Arts are going into the studio to record their first song.

It's a cover of a modern country ballad Concrete Angel, a song made famous by Martine McBride. It's particularly moving as the song's about child abuse, told from the perspective of a daughter regularly beaten by her drunken mother.

In this age of manufactured pop and transient reality z listers, it's heartening to hear children with genuine talent getting a chance to reach a wider audience.

I defy anyone not to get moist-eyed listening to this clip I recorded last year - though I'm told they're a hundred times better now.

Can't wait to hear them.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Back on tracks

Of late I've become quite nostalgic for British Rail. Anyone who regularly has to stand crammed with your face stuffed into someone else's armpit on a morning commuter train will probably share that nostalgia.

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time commuting between Hull and London. Boarding the 0700 Inter City 125 to King's Cross was always the beginning of an exciting short break down south - a trip to Wembley perhaps, a function at the Commons and maybe - if we were luck - a possible visit to McDonalds (this was 1980!)

Looking back, it appears to have been a distant golden age - the aisles seemed wider, the seats larger and more importantly, available.

So imagine my shock one Saturday earlier this year when I was told by our Hull Trains stewardess (yes, we have stewardesses on Hull Trains) that we were changing trains at Doncaster and what we were going to continue our journey on.

As they were waiting for the arrival of new trains, the train operator leased some Inter City carriages and an old diesel engine to cover for weekend services.

It was like a scene from Life from Mars. We were quite literally being transported back in time to the eighties.

And you know what - the seats were bigger and the aisles were wider. Sadly the toasted
ham and cheese sandwich cooked under the grill wasn't on offer. But it didn't stop me fondly remembering it all the way back to London.

As we left Doncaster, we were greeted by a flash of lights as eager trainspotters captured the journey for posterity. I think the new trains have arrived so this particular 125 has once more gracefully slipped back into retirement.

But I've just managed to track down some of footage from Youtube. Enjoy!