You could curse YouTube sometimes.
Andy Crane discussing Spot the Dog with Pop Will Eat Itself, Noel Edmonds asking XTC’s Andy Partridge to “be quiet”, Captain Sensible falling from tables, Gilbert the Alien telling Aswad’s Brinsley Forde to “skin up” and Neil Buchanan visiting the set of Gazza’s ‘Fog On The Tyne (Revisited)’ video.
It all happened on children’s television – and none of them are currently on YouTube.
Heck, the full Matt Bianco and Five Star interviews, from ‘Saturday Superstore’ and ‘Going Live!’ respectively, aren’t even on the Internet. [EDIT: The Five Star interview is now on YouTube.]
But fear not, the following 12 interviews are very awkward.
This is mainly down to the interviewers’ incompetence, but also due to baffling location spots and various interviewees looking hopelessly out of place.
And you know that they’re bad when you can’t include Noel Gallagher proclaiming that ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ is the best Oasis album since ‘Definitely Maybe’.
12. Living in a Box are asked political questions by kids with regional accents (‘It’s Wicked!’, 1987)
Candid is not a word to describe Living in a Box.
Refusing to answer a question about the general election is one thing, but staying tight-lipped about whether one member had a Number 1 in Spain is quite remarkable.
And, to add to the tension, there are some catty remarks about regional accents and Sheffield, while one child mistakes Richard Darbyshire for an imaginary band member called Stephen.
However, when answers are provided, it’s clear to see the group’s aura of unease. For instance, they said that Bucks Fizz was an early influence, JUST BECAUSE CHERYL BAKER WAS DOING A COOKERY SLOT ON THE SHOW, and also admitted that the band’s name and début single was based on one half-witted anecdote.
Alan Partridge would’ve been proud of those answers.
For more awkward interviews on ‘It’s Wicked’, your best bet is to watch Carolyn Marshall’s tactless chat with seminal kids’ presenter Brian Cant.
11. Violet Berlin discusses video game soundtracks with Alien Sex Fiend (‘Bad Influence!’, 1994)
First of all, here’s the good news: deathrock duo Alien Sex Fiend co-composed the soundtrack for space simulator ‘Inferno’ in 1994. It was awesome.
And the inevitable bad news was that Violet Berlin interviewed Mrs Fiend on technology magazine ‘Bad Influence!’.
The signs were bad, even before the interview started, as their band name was censored as ASF, and Andy Crane made the obligatory “legendary” reference.
And, after the interview, they played out the show on Yorkshire Television’s car park, while being drowned out by a firework display.
As for the interview itself: Mrs Fiend looks like that she wants to do a runner, while Berlin gets excited over what she calls “chase noise”.
Still, it’s not all bad. You get to see Mrs Fiend using an Amiga.
And, after all, Crane could’ve conducted the interview.
NB: The interview was conducted between 1:33 and 3:40.
10. Toby Anstis meets Radiohead (‘The O-Zone’, 1995)
The mid-1990s was a period when Andi Peters edited a certain music show and Gary Barlow produced its theme tune.
That sort of thing will never happen again, mainly because Peters decided to base his editorial début on ‘Top of the Pops’ around a Victoria Beckham exclusive.
But Toby Anstis’ interview with Radiohead will stay long in the memory.
Anstis, in an attempt to hide his lack of knowledge about independent music, focused on the aftermath of ‘Creep’ as he mentioned the song title THREE times in less than 90 seconds, and referred to other terms like “one-hit wonders” and “one-song band“.
His voiceover, however, was even more awkward and it included the following passage:
“The striking video to the new single, ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, looks like it was made for the American market. It features the tortured lead vocals of Thom Yorke, who is desperate to rid Radiohead of the ‘Creep’ label.”
Yorke did well to gaze into the distance with a vacant expression.
And, for more surreal music interviews with Anstis, he once played crazy golf with The Bee Gees.
9. Tony Gregory and Jane Wiedlin discuss animal ethics (‘Motormouth’, 1988)
The website Sat Kids described Tony Gregory, the original voice of ‘Big Brother’, as a man “who couldn’t maintain a look of interest while interviewing”. Which says it all.
Here, he mistakes a rabbit for “furry clothing”, and then patronisingly asks animal rights activist and former Go-Go guitarist Jane Wiedlin why people shouldn’t wear fur.
You have to give Gregory some credit, mind.
Just be thankful that his interviews with Bananarama and Kakko are no longer online, though. Be very thankful.
8. Michaela Strachan admits that she struggles to pronounce the Inspiral Carpets’ band name (‘Wac 90’, 1989)
This interview featured the following: a bunch of kids wearing Inspiral Carpets T-shirts, Tom Hingley wanting a breakfast cereal to be named after him, the group answering questions from a set of playing cards and Clint Boon being forced to talk to his mother on a dinosaur telephone.
I think that fulfils the awkward criteria quite nicely.
Goodness knows why Tommy Boyd didn’t conduct this interview. It would have been so much better with him at the helm.
NB: The interview was conducted between 4:19 and 6:26.
7. Philippa Forrester and Carter USM visit a dinosaur museum (‘The O-Zone’, 1993)
Another O-Zone interview means more filler questions about irrelevant topics.
This time, Philippa Forrester focuses on ‘Jurassic Park’, because Carter USM’s latest album at the time was called ‘Post Historic Monsters’, and Fruitbat’s rugby tackle on Phillip Schofield at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party.
Fruitbat and Jim Bob were unsurprisingly subdued – to the extent that a caption proclaimed:
“Carter found it difficult to talk about their new single – so we asked an easier question…”
And that question was about haircuts.
Honestly, showing random shots of the museum in question would have been more productive.
6. Andi Peters tries to punch himself in the face while interviewing Pulp (‘Live & Kicking’, 1995)
It’s never going to end well when Andi Peters doesn’t know who Russell Senior is. He makes that mistake twice.
He also tries to crack jokes with Jarvis Cocker – again, he does it more than once.
It culminates with Peters trying to punch himself in the face.
And, if you thought that things couldn’t be any more awkward, you’d be wrong.
During a “Robert’s Records” sketch with Trevor & Simon, Gary Glitter spontaneously busts some moves.
At least Candida Doyle seems to be enjoying herself – there’s some very faint praise for you.
NB: The interview was conducted between 3:16 and 5:23.
5. Pat Sharp mistakes The Beautiful South for The Housemartins (‘What’s Up Doc?’, 1994)
“What’s Up Doc? continues with Jacqui, Paul and Dave from The Housemartins, and the rest of the gang, who used to be The Housemartins, shall I say, but are now The Beautiful South. That was my first line. ‘Cos that’s true, innit?”
I don’t think anything else needs to be said about this interview. Instead, let’s focus on Pat Sharp’s other memorable chats.
4. Andi Peters’ Hot Seat interview with NKOTB (‘Live & Kicking’, 1994)
All I will say is this: anything that makes Andi Peters uncomfortable is good. God bless the New Kids on the Block and their crazy antics.
Meanwhile, other interviews by Peters that failed to make the final cut included: chatting to The Human League about whippets and flat caps, asking Shed Seven whether Henry Kelly influenced their Top 10 single ‘Going For Gold’, talking about stalkers with Jas Mann and playing in a ball pool with Fuzzbox.
3. Ross King, Charlotte Hindle, Dianne Oxberry, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer bop to the beat of ‘Born Free’ (‘The 8.15 From Manchester’, 1991)
I was tempted to include Ross King messing around with They Might Be Giants’ mobile phone in this list, but you can’t beat Vic Reeves rigorously stroking plush toys and King’s hair.
On the plus side, “the man with the stick’s first helmet from 1943” is one of the all-time great prizes on Saturday morning television.
2. Jenny Powell, the advisor from ‘Theme Park World’, Nicky Wire and Richey Edwards chat about make-up (‘Gimme 5’, 1993)
Despite Lewis MacLeod’s best efforts with his ‘Scooby Doo’ plugs and multi-coloured shorts, Jenny Powell emerges victorious with her observational skills:
“Can I just get one thing right? I think you’re sort of like: metal rock, not pop, punk kind of thing. I mean what are your roots, your musical roots? [...] It makes a change having some English rock ‘n’ roll, really, in this day and age.”
For more ‘Gimme 5’ goodness, check out MacLeod chatting to Oui 3 about “quite serious subjects in your [Oui 3's] lyrics” – as well as Powell and Nobby the Sheep being “deep and meaningful” with wannabe shoegazers Bedazzled.
1. Gary Crowley tries to impersonate Danny Dyer in front of Devo (‘Fun Factory’, 1980)
This interview was always going to be bad from the very start. For instance, the blurb on the YouTube video states:
“The group had a huge bust up with show producers and another group on the show, The Regents – a 1 hit wonder – which may explained [sic] the strained mood through the interview.”
Gary Crowley, however, does his best to make matters even worse.
He asks Devo about their musical influences on FOUR separate occasions without realising that their answer, “T.V. and bad life”, suited their kitsch style and deadpan humour.
In particular, one question – “What about music, though? What was you listening to when you was about 17 and all that? You know, when you were in your teenage years and before you become [sic] old men. What was you listening to when you was about 17?” – makes Dexter Fletcher’s presenting stint on ‘GamesMaster’ look like Jeremy Paxman.
If Crowley can become a successful music broadcaster, anyone can.
This feature was self-published in July 2012.
Anon (1990) Zapper’s Guide. Look-in, Saturday October 27 1990, p.28-29.