Breakfast With Wittertainment

Some weekends deserve a brief mention, some a few pictures, some, like the one just gone, really do need a bit of effort put into the telling of them.

All the other things, from sitting in Britney’s living room on Friday right through to leaving London last night at 7.30 will come later when I have time to do it properly, but I wanted to get this out now as I’m so excited about it.

This was a pilgrimage.

See Simon Mayo is someone worth looking up to in my business. He’s been with the BBC since 1981 and spent a long period presenting the Radio 1 breakfast show. He was one of the few to survive Matthew Bannister’s cull of presenters in 1993 and since 2001 has been an award winning speech presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live. In my business he’s someone who has been successful and, more importantly, made the extremely hard transition between primarily music and primarily speech broadcasting.


Mark Kermode I’ve watched doing movie stuff on the BBC (Culture Show, Newsnight Review) for as long as I can remember. I genuinely think him the most clued-in person I’ve ever seen on the subject. That I agree with him quite a lot of the time probably has a lot to do with it.

My favourite podcast is their double hander they do on movies every Friday on Simon’s show. Download it. Seriously. They have the kind of easy rapport combined with pithy intelligent content it’s almost impossible to sustain over a long time in radio.

And thus to the weekend. I’d mailed the BBC Culture Show like so many other hopefuls to get into the audience for the first ever filmed movie double hander the two had done – an attempt to transfer the success of the radio thing to the little screen. Friday afternoon at 4.45 I got a call from a lovely lady saying it was all go.


Fast forward to Sunday morning and we’re here:


A nondescript bar and screening room on Borough High Street in South East London.

There were around 40 people in the audience, we all filled out forms beforehand to give them an idea of what we were interested in and the like. And to keep us busy while they set up 🙂


Eventually they brought us in first.



I was terrified.

I’d been earmarked as a troublemaker…

When the good doctors M and K arrived they got settled in and while they were doing camera tests Dr K asked if anyone in the room had seen Transformers 2. I was the only hand up. “Isn’t it terrible?”, he said? You know where that led…

There were two sessions, rock documentaries and summer blockbusters in our half of the day, with a different 40 people in the afternoon tackling School’s Out and Music Biopics. They readily admitted to us that it was a learning curve as this is a totally new undertaking for the two of them but it didn’t show.

The whole session flew and the natural easiness that you can hear between them on the radio kept going in a bit more of a stop-start way admittedly given the nature of what TV is. 


Before we started Simon asked where was the furthest anyone had come from, I thought the two of us would win hands down. The guy above, on the right? He came from VANCOUVER. 

*takes off hat*

As for impressions of both of them having been in the same room, Dr K – lethally intelligent, warm and funny with a strong handshake, Dr M – quieter with the same smartness and a really strong command of interviews. Both were lovely and chatty with the crowd and each other and both seemed the sort of people you’d kill to have a beer with.

I asked the good doctors for a picture and they were only too happy to oblige…


The segments will go out over the 4 Culture Shows on July (I think) and I’m in the audience for the first two. In the small possibility they don’t cut my contribution it’ll be in the second one. You won’t be able to miss the inappropriately loud shirt…

You can catch the good doctors here and here and here and here:

4 thoughts on “Breakfast With Wittertainment

  1. excellent stuff; im looking forward to seeing how they translate it to tv. i read an interview with kermode ages ago and he mentioned they were keen to try it.hope ot doesnt come at a cost to the radio show like…

    did they do the ‘hello to jason isaacs’ thing for example?

    and i notice you tip-exed over your name in the pic. foiled again.

  2. They didn’t Adrian, it’s a slightly different beast, obviously and it’ll be short enough. Maybe 20 mins instead of the 30 or 40 they do on radio.

    RPs, not my handwriting, obviously 😛

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