Many years ago, I met the TalkSport presenter and Spurs fan, Paul Hawksbee. In between anchoring his radio show 'Hawksbee and Jacobs', he was writing for Harry Hill's TV Burp. My brother Grant was working on the show and had wangled me a very small part. You know that bit where Harry would shout, “FIGHT”? Well, I had to run on dressed as Pop Idol judge Dr Fox and have a punch-up with a bloke dressed as Simon Cowell. I nailed it.
Even better, Harry Hill then decided to create a spoof soap opera, called "At Home with the Pop Idol Panel". Not only was it another 6 weeks working with Harry, but I also got to meet Paul Hawksbee. That bloke off TalkSport!
A decade later, and Tony Pastor and EVR Productions wanted Deadpan’s input on a series of football shows for 'DAVE TV'. They were to be narrated by Jason Manford. Our own Tim was 'Series Producer' and he asked me if I wanted to write the jokes for Jason, but also if I could bring in another comedy writer who really knew his football! Well, it had to be!
Thankfully Paul was up for it and with Tim, Tony, Jim and Matt all cracking on with filming and editing of the talking heads, it was full steam ahead. All Paul and I needed was a writers’ room.
He needed to be near to the TalkSport studios, which are in SE1. We eventually found the perfect place, just around the corner.
It’s on The South Bank and called ‘Eat’.
With the morning sun streaming in and sound quality on my lap-top adequate at best, Paul and I would spend most of our time leaning in and squinting at the action before barking out an idea for a joke, whilst giving our best Jason Manford impression. Well, I say Jason Manford...I really mean 'Basic Northern'. As they say in the world of Amateur Dramatics.
We got there in the end and Jason Manford's VO was spot on! The talking heads we shot were also superb. Great comic turns from the fresh-faces of Alex Brooker, Ivo Graham and Tom Rosenthal, masterclass moments from comedy legends Kevin Day and Alistair McGowan, plus great insights from some of our finest sportsmen and journos.
By the way, you won’t see Adrian Chiles and Gary Lineker on the same show anywhere else this summer.
The shows are called "England's 19 Top Footie Heroes", "England's 53 Top Footie Goals" and "England's 39 Top Footie Gaffes" and will air on 'DAVE' in a few weeks time.