Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Bad Boss III - They're Taking Over The Asylum!

My thanks to David Kursey, the well known radio broadcaster and pseudonym for this tale, which he will tell in his own words. His boss, on hearing that they'd booked actor John Challis for his show, came up with some ways to make the interview 'non-standard’:

"Now I’m a great admirer of Only Fools and Horses, and my views on it are strong. I rate the early ones best because they’re gritty and real. The storylines are funny in the middle years, and some of the incidental characters really come into their own. But I have a firm belief that John Sullivan should have said “no” the minute popular culture reduced his Peckham to just another Christmas tradition. Trigger became too thick to be real or funny; Mickey Pierce surely wouldn’t still be wearing that hat?... John Challis was there throughout, so this was a good opportunity for me.

My co-host had never seen an episode. (That’s a story for another day.) So the boss decided to motivate…

“You must know it – you know, Del Boy… in the market… wears a hat.”


“Anyway, I think you should split this interview into two parts. For the first five minutes you should interview him as Boycie.”

Oh God.

“Then, after five minutes, reveal that he’s actually John Challis and ask him about what it’s been like to play Boycie: does he get recognised, that sort of thing.”


I tried to use the situation to my advantage and asked how, if only one of us knew the series, we could both probe John Challis in character.

“Ask him about the bar… You know… when he fell through the bar. Everyone’s seen that.”

Me: “But he didn’t fall through the bar.”

Bad Boss: "Yes he did – someone opened the bar and he went to lean on it and…”

Me: “That was Del. That was David Jason.”

“But wasn’t he with him when he fell?”

“No – that was Trigger. That was Roger Lloyd-Pack…”


“How about asking about the beard?”

“Uncle Albert – played by Buster Merrifield. Now dead.”


“Well, you have to remember you know the series better than most of the audience. I’m sure you can make it work.”

We did. I did. We spoke to John Challis, the actor who’d taken the most insignificant of roles and turned him into an essential part of one of the nation’s best loved sit-coms – probably one of the most instantly recognisable figures in British comedy.

At least to some".

The door is still open for any more Bad Boss stories. 

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