My first day at BBC was exciting and unforgettable, not only had I made it to TV ‘Mecca’, I met who would become my best friend, Gail Porter. An unknown at the time, Gail had been hired to host the Beeb’s Kids magazine show, ‘Megamag’.
I’d grown up watching BBC and spent many hours daydreaming I’d work there some day, so to finally land a job as Music and Celebrity Booker was quite the achievement.
Within minutes of meeting each other, Edinburgh born Gail and I immediately hit it off. We both had a similar happy-go-lucky attitude, we loved music and fashion. She reminded me a lot of my Dundee room-mate from college; two Scots girls causing a stir wherever they went.
We also shared the same ambition and enthusiasm to be working ‘in Tele’. I mean, we were paid to hang out and interview celebrities and musicians, what could possibly be better than that?!
Gail was a prized presenter; sharp, photogenic and funny, the camera loved her, she was (and still is), a natural beauty. On the other hand, I was happy being behind the camera and couldn’t imagine the self-scrutiny one goes through being in the spotlight.
We’d go off on shoots around the country, traveling up and down the U.K. from Brighton to Aberdeen and everywhere in between. Shooting behind the scenes on music videos or interviewing celebs and bands who couldn’t make it into the studio.
One memorable shoot, in Stockton-On-Tees of all places...put Gail in a Weinstein-ish position.
It’s 1996 and Peter Andre was riding high off the back of his hit single ‘Mysterious Girl’. We rocked up to this huge spa/hotel property, where Peter was performing later that evening. As was often the case, we’d have to make do with whatever the location offered as a backdrop and on this occasion, it was either a conference room or an outdoor pool.
The decision was made to open the interview in the Jacuzzi…
I’ll never forget the look on Peter’s face as Gail emerged from the Ladies locker room, all boobs and cherubic faced. I mean, this girl was buxom yet slim everywhere else, she’d hid it well, self-conscious of her natural assets.
The director turned to me, bright red, “oh god, and this is a Kids show!”, I couldn’t help but laugh. Of course, Peter Andre reveled in it and in fact he enjoyed Gail a little too much and it didn’t go unnoticed.
Poor Gail had to spend what seemed like an eternity in that Jacuzzi, trying to keep an overtly flirtatious pop-star in check. We thought it would be good training for what was would be a successful TV career, how wrong we all were.
The Fixer Diaries ‘part deux’, has been slightly delayed due to the good folks of California changing the laws on Marijuana. Let’s just say, we’ve been a bit distracted over here, sampling the world’s No.1, happy plant.