How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 194.


I didn’t set out to become a famous car salesman when I decided to get into radio but that’s what happened in 1994.

My second ever paid job on commercial radio was at 5SE in South Australia. As well as presenting the Breakfast Show, I was also presenting TV commercials for a local supermarket called Foodland. All I did was hold products up to the camera and make bad jokes about them.

The ads were so popular that a car dealer called Carlin & Gazzard asked me to do the same thing for them and changed the name of the dealership to “C&G’s CarLand”.

It was the same formula, I just stood in front of a car, told you the deal and made wisecracks about it or it’s features. After filming one day, I was having a beer with the Gazzard brothers who ran the place. One of them said, “I’ll show you the ads we used to run…” and popped a VHS into the machine on top of the TV. It turned out that one of the brothers, Peter Gazzard, was a stunt driver. The commercials showed him driving a car on it’s side, through the dealership with two wheels in the air like that scene in the James Bond film ‘Diamonds Are Forever’. It was really quite something, he was weaving in between rows of cars that were for sale on the lot, only narrowly missing them all.

Then they accidentally showed me an out-take where the stunt went wrong and the car rolled over. “Oh, you weren’t supposed to see that!” said the manager. I said, “Was that ever shown on TV? It’s amazing!”. They said hardly anybody had ever seen that footage. Peter didn’t want it to be shown because it could damage his reputation as one of Australia’s top stunt drivers. I asked if they still had the car and if Peter still had the same crash helmet. When the answer to both questions was “Yes”, I said, “Let’s do a commercial where we show Peter doing the stunt again and then I have a go myself. If we film me putting on the helmet, getting in the car and driving off, then cut to the bit where the stunt goes wrong, it’ll look like I made a mess of it, especially if we record some audio from inside the car of me going, “I think I’ve got it, oh no, I haven’t got it, help!!!” and dub that over the pictures”.

For weeks after it was shown, I was asked if I was badly hurt in the crash. Peter, who was actually in the roll-over got no sympathy at all. Which is exactly the way he wanted it to be.

I was still doing ads for the supermarket so I made a reference to the stunt at the end of the next ad I did for them.

Craic on!

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