How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 191.


The big difference between working in radio and and working in television is the time everything takes.

In radio, things happen fast. You have an idea, grab some music and sound effects and away you go. In television there’s make-up, lighting, costumes and so many people involved, I don’t know what they all do.

In 2008, I was the presenter of the Breakfast Show on TFM Radio in the North East. The radio station bought some airtime on ITV and I got to make a commercial for the show.

The Breakfast Show had a jingle package that sounded like gospel singers. I used to ‘Macktize” new listeners on the air. They would call up, tell me they’d switched from one of our competitors, I would get them to put their hand on the radio, bless them and welcome them into the congregation of “The Church of The Immaculate Reception”. It was decided that for the telly ad, I would dress up as a TV evangelist and mime to a pre-recorded soundtrack of my voice singing the jingle mixed with the original singers who’d recorded it in Dallas Texas.

The TV production company hired a local gospel choir to mime to the jingle singers and we recruited listeners on the air to be extras. The location was a nightclub called ‘Tall Trees’ in Yarm.

I got there at 6am on the day of the shoot which was a Sunday. I wasn’t in the best shape. The night before, I’d been on stage till way past 1am with The Graham Mack Blues Band. We were the headline act at the annual TFM charity ball.

The make-up lady and the costume designer did an amazing job making me look the part and we started shooting.

I’m not sure how many times we ran through the whole thing but it felt like hundreds. Then there were cutaways, pick-ups and B-roll. TV is all about detail, sometimes we’d have to stop because a shadow was in the wrong place or because a filtered light was the wrong shade of yellow.

My bit didn’t finish till 6pm. That’s right, including a break for lunch, I was there for twelve hours.

The spot ran for 30 seconds.

Craic on!

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