Monday, 9 September 2013

ITV3 Crime Club


 Cactus TV, Sunday 8 September 2013

On the set of Saturday Kitchen, made by Cactus TV. (Image: Hannah Wilson)

On a pleasant autumn Sunday in Clapham, myself, astrophysicist Will Howells and photographer Lili Gane contribute to an ITV3 special celebrating Colin Dexter’s Oxford sleuth, Inspector Morse.

It’s amazing what’s tucked away in London. Just off Clapham High Street, a converted church houses the premises of the production company Cactus TV. On Sunday September 8, I went along to take part in a series of new programmes being made for ITV3’s 2013 autumn crime festival. Celebrating the commercial channel’s distinguished line of fictional detectives, including everyone from Poirot to Scott and Bailey, they’re hosted by the lovely Bradley Walsh, himself a participant in crime drama in Law and Order UK. Affable and funny as ever, today he was looking dapper in a tailored suit that would have had The Avengers’ peacock spy John Steed raising an eyebrow approvingly.

The other guests were the actor Nathaniel Parker, who appeared in the Anthony Minghella scripted Inspector Morse mystery ‘Deceived by Flight’ and has latterly been starring in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. A friendly man who couldn’t quite believe I’d watched his Morse the night before, like everyone at Cactus he was happy to be there on a Sunday. The other guest was a crime novelist whose name, I’m ashamed to admit, I can’t remember. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I waylaid him in the toilets and, to my delight, he enthused about being a huge fan of Edward Woodward’s shabby ITV spy David Callan.

My part of the show, which I think is called Crime Club, was as a quiz contestant. I was competing against Will Howells, who, in one of those coincidences that can only happen in London, knew me from some of the BFI’s Doctor Who at 50 events.

'Mr Callan!!!' The Author with Will Howells.
(Image: Lili Gane)
The quiz went like this: Round 1 was quick-fire, with the first player to answer correctly being given a series of clues that related to a specific episode. If he guessed the title he got 5 points. So it went three times until there was a clear winner. Round 2 had three tries at guessing the identity of a Morse character, again for 5 points each. I was lagging behind by now – with 2 points, which moved Mr Walsh to ask ‘You do actually watch Inspector Morse, don’t you?’ – but I made up for being, as they say, ‘not too quick on the buzzer’ in the Mastermind-style final round. Happily, I didn’t disgrace myself, scoring 7 points in 45 seconds that restored Mr Walsh’s respect for me. In turn, my respect for him doubled when he told me he was a fan of Callan too.

Post quiz, after my friend Lili just had to have her picture taken on the set of Saturday Kitchen which Cactus also make, it was time to say goodbye to our very attentive and enthusiastic PA Hannah Wilson and head out on to the rainy streets of Clapham. Will had to shoot off, but Lili and myself decamped to the nearest O’Neill’s for a debrief. Sitting at a table al fresco, we observed one of the local boys about town inhale cigarette smoke through a nostril in order to impress three of his lady friends. The more things change…

Mr Bradley Walsh with an old friend on the wall.
(Image: Lili Gane)
There’s no Irish blood in my family as far as I know, but regular readers will know that I’m a one-man Pogues revival. After I’d said goodbye to Lili at London Bridge, I wandered around on the banks of the Thames in happy, mildly alcoholic daze. As I took in the sights, the lyrics of The Pogues’ ‘The Broad Majestic Shannon’ came to mind:

The last time I saw you was down at the Greeks
There was whiskey on Sunday and tears on our cheeks.
You sang me a song as pure as the breeze
Blowing up the road to Glenaveigh.
I sat for while at the cross of Finnoe
Where young lovers would meet when flowers were in bloom.
Heard the men coming home from the fair at Shinnoe
Their hearts in Tipperary wherever they go.

Take my hand, and dry your tears, babe.
Take my hand, forget your fears, babe.
There’s no more pain, there’s no more sorrow.
They’re all gone, gone in the years, babe.

I sat for a while by a gap in the wall
Found a rusty tin can and an old hurley ball.
Heard the cards being dealt, and the rosary called
And a fiddle playing ‘Sean Dun na Gall’.
And next time I see you we’ll be down at the Greeks
There’ll be whiskey on Sunday and tears on our cheeks
For its stupid to laugh and it’s useless to bawl
About a rusty tin can and an old hurley ball.

Take my hand, and dry your tears, babe.
Take my hand, forget your fears, babe.
There’s no more pain, there’s no more sorrow.
They’re all gone, gone in the years, babe.

So I walked, as day was dawning
Where small birds sang, and leaves were falling
Where we once watched, the row boats landing
By the broad, majestic Shannon.

Says it all really.

The set of Crime Club. (Image: Lili Gane)
Finally, I’m in the final stages of writing a book on Callan with my friend Mike Kenwood. During the quiz, every time I pressed my buzzer a naked light bulb lit up above my head. Like our friend outside the pub with his stunt cigarette, sometimes you really can’t make it up.

We’ve got great lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment