2 January 2009


First bit of priceless telly of 2008; last night's edition of Celebrity Mastermind. Having just retaken his seat after facing questions on the Just William books, Rick Wakeman watches his fellow competitor Ian Lavender take to the black chair. As ever, John Humphrys commences by asking the participant his name.

Before he can reply, Wakeman yells: "Don't tell him Pike!"

It may have been rehearsed and unoriginal, but I laughed like an inhabitant of a home for the deranged. Lavender looked a mixture of amused and peeved. The audience applauded.

Wouldn't have happended under Magnus Magnusson.

Tim Vine won the episode thanks to an impressive general knowledge round (despite the celeb questions being so much easier than the ones Kevin Ashman, Fred Housego and co would have ever needed to answer), although he was bizarrely slipshod on his specialist subject. He chose to face questions on Elvis Presley and failed to know that Elvis a) was managed by Colonel Tom Parker; and b) owned Graceland. These are surely facts that everyone, including Presley haters, know about Elvis Presley.


office pest said...

I have seen Rick Wakeman play a couple of times and his raconteur-ing skills are great. Hilarious stories about when he was in his heyday as a drunk rock star. He used to tell a few when he was asked on Buzzcocks and other shows.

Bright Ambassador said...

Lavender and Wakeman are grrreat mates. When Danny Baker was doing his ill-fated Saturday night chat show about 15 years ago, he had Wakeman on. He told Baker that he should really get Lavender as a guest. A few weeks later Lavender was on, it was tremendous. This was, of course, in the days before I *Heart* Dad's Army, so a lot of the stories about Lowe, Le Measurier, Ridley, Laurie et al were pretty much unheard at the time.

My favourite Wakeman story? When he got pulled and breathalysed by the police in the early 80s. He had had a pretty fierce curry the night before and asked the officer if he could use the facilities of a nearby house. The police and householder agreed and Wakeman duly started to unload the curry into the bog. About halfway through there was a knock at the bog door, and a hand came in proffering Wakeman's Journey to the Centre of the Earth album to be signed.

My other favourite thing about Wakeman is that he really used to piss off other members of Yes by having a curry delivered to his keyboard stand during Steve Howe's boring guitar solo, proceed to eat the curry and read a paper in full view of the audience.

Word verification: 'exanite', sounds like the title of a mid-period Yes album.

Louis Barfe said...

I spent the morning in the studio with Rick Wakeman for a Radio Times piece on his Planet Rock show. Lovely bloke, and just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Wasn't the curry story after a Brentford FC function? The key detail is that the bog door was ajar, because the copper refused to uncuff Rick.

Bright Ambassador said...

I bow to your superior knowledge, Mr Barfe.

Suzy Norman said...

What irks me about the show, is the 'unprofessional' way they shout something like 'rotting fish balls' to an answer they don't know to escape the 'pass' tag. Piddlesticks.