Chance encounters can lead to interesting developments. My first digs in Bristol were with an animator called Sue Williams. Sue and I struck up a friendship and, for some reason, she began to look out for work opportunities for me. She heard from her husband, who worked as a film editor at the local commercial TV station, HTV West, that their veteran director Derek Clark had been asked to put a new weekly ‘community’ programme together, as part of a push by central government to get holders of regional broadcast franchises to encourage neighbourliness (i.e. depend less on the state — this was the era of High Thatcherism). A couple of presenters had been lined up, but Derek also wanted a resident witty-ditty person to write a song on a given subject. Sue persuaded her husband to put my name forward. Though I don’t remember auditioning for Derek, I assume I must have done, since I got the job. Nor can I recall how long the contract was for, nor the songs I wrote, apart from one or two.
The show was recorded in the company studios in Brislington, a suburb to the east of Bristol. It was my first time in front of cameras. Initially terrifying, but I soon got used to it. Derek was a kind, likeable man. Even though he’d been in TV since the 60s, he was still an enthusiast. When he died in 2008, The Guardian published a very interesting obituary, which you can find here.