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My TV Career

TPICTURE WITH TROPHIESHaving studied film-making at college, I got into BBC production by working in the Film Library, Production Planning and Publicity. This `apprenticeship` was a great way to learn how the organisation worked and understand its values. I also made lots of contacts. TV is a very demanding world – so you have to be prepared to work long and unsocial hours!

PICTURE INTERVIEWING TONY FISHMy first production job was in Local Radio (a fantastic training ground) where I learned programme making skills, experienced the pressures of daily journalism – and gained confidence as an interviewer. The person I`m talking to in this photograph was about to take a diving lesson – and almost drowned. He hadn`t told me that he couldn`t swim! His name, by the way, was Tony Fish!

PICTURE WITH `LISTEN CHILDREN` KIDSWhen my boss discovered that I had once been a children`s entertainer (I can still pour a jug of milk into a rolled-up newspaper – but it makes a terrible mess on the floor) I was asked to write and present short stories for “Listen Children”, a popular daily series for the under-tens. Top tip: every bit of experience you pick up may come in useful one day!

PICTURE WITH BASIL BRUSH & CO.Next stop national radio where I became a Light Entertainment producer, making comedy and factual entertainment programmes for Radios 2 and 4. One of my more unusual ideas was `Ask A Silly Question!` - a radio quiz game in which all the contestants were dummies, led by Basil Brush.

`THAT`S LIFE!` PICTURE In 1976, I moved to Television (how old does that make him, I hear you ask?) as film director on a series called “That`s Life!”

TRAMP DRIVING On `That`s Life!`, I made stars of a talking Yorkshire terrier called Prince, who made the word `Sausages!` a national catchphrase - and Tramp, an Old English sheepdog who drove a car. The car-driving dog film became one of the most famous TV April fools of all time.

My work has included documentaries on subjects ranging from the price of fame to the ordeal faced by families of missing people. On the lighter side, I was responsible for many factual entertainment series in which TV stars learned challenging (and sometimes scary) new skills.

Among the brave presenters were:

Chris Serle and Paul Heiney in "In At The Deep End"

PIC OF PAUL WITH MICHAEL CAINE, Photograph by Chris Craymer, courtesy Radio Times. Paul Heiney, who had never acted before in his life, learned to play Kessler, a ruthless German mercenary in the feature film `Water`, starring Michael Caine. [Photograph by Chris Craymer, courtesy
Radio Times]

Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson in "Jobs For The Girls"

PIC OF PAULINE, LINDA and LESLEY GARRETTActresses Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson sang `Rule Britannia` with leading soprano Lesley Garrett and a full symphony orchestra in front of 9,000 music lovers. [Photograph BBC]

Gareth Hale And Norman Pace In "Jobs For The Boys"

PIC OF GARETH AND NORMAN WITH NICK AND GARY BARLOWComedians Hale and Pace learned what it takes to write a hit song with special tips from Gary Barlow. That`s me at the back! [Photograph BBC]

Charlie Dimmock In "Cheer For Charlie"

PIC OF NICK AND CHARLIE ON FLYING TRAPEZE, Photograph by Mark Harrison, courtesy Radio Times For this film, I persuaded TV gardening presenter Charlie Dimmock to take part in a death-defying circus trapeze act. Who`s that handsome hanger-on? [Photograph by Mark Harrison, courtesy
Radio Times]

Children In Need

PICTURE OF TERRY AND SUE WITH PUDSEY BEARA special highlight of my career was a four year stint as producer of the Children in Need Appeal with Terry Wogan and Sue Cook. The annual appeal helps disadvantaged children throughout the UK. In 2013 alone, £31 million was raised by the end of the show. [Photograph BBC]

Next: Breaking into TV