Radio entertainment and showbiz

Chris Tarrant talks to Jackie Brambles on Greatest Hits Radio

The long-time friends shared a wide-ranging conversation, which will air on the station later.

Chris talked about Ukraine, Tiswas and the dangers of drug-taking on the set of a children’s TV programme.

Jackie wanted to know why Chris has been so passionate about helping those affected by the war in Ukraine?

He told her that he never thought he’d see in his lifetime the scenes we’ve seen – and are still seeing – since, what he called, this sick, evil war started in Ukraine.

“Appalling attacks on innocent women and children,” Chris said. “When it started Jane and I were watching the news at home shaking our heads and thinking ‘we should really help, we’ve got room, we can take a family’.

“This family, three generations – Mum, 65, daughter of about 30 and a little baby who was then 7 months – had been sleeping on the floor of an airport in Poland but moved in with us in March and they’ve really enhanced our lives – this little baby is now 14 months old and is toddling and gurgling away,” he added.

Because it’s coming up to winter and where he lives is quite remote, Chis is moving the family to a flat in the middle of a town. He told Jackie that they really want to go home but they live about 60 miles from the Russian border and the husband is fighting in the Donbas, so it’s still very difficult.

On a lighter topic, Chris speaks about the lasting legacy of Tiswas, saying that you can get a university doctorate on it now.

“It’s quite extraordinary the analysis they do about it, but really and truly it was just a few blokes and a very silly girl just having a laugh,” Chris joked. “People are analysing it, talking about it and what we were trying to do – but we just didn’t like Blue Peter, we just mucked about every Saturday morning!”

Tiswas is where Chris met all his heroes including McCartney, the Who and Queen.  He says that everybody who had something to sell came on the show because they loved it. “Madness were on every other week, Status Quo were on whether we invited them or not,” he quipped.

Jackie asked Chris about his most memorable Tiswas moment, which he said was when he decided to try and get a bit of publicity – not that they really needed it, but he got a celebrity version of the ‘gunge cage’ in the studio.

“We had Lemmy from Motorhead in there, Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi from the Quo, a female rock group called Goldie and the Gingerbreads, we had John Peel,” Chris recalled. “Then I’m halfway through a sketch with Lenny and I suddenly looked at him in horror, ran over to the cage and picked up about 10 buckets of water and just pelted the cage and everyone in it.

“Bear in mind that I’m the producer on Tiswas, as well as the presenter, of what is ostensibly a children’s TV show and while I’m in the middle of this sketch with Lenny I can smell what is unmistakeably marijuana. Someone was smoking a spliff in the cage! I’ve never ever revealed who it was…”

If you want to know more of what Chris says, then listen to him chatting to Jackie Brambles tonight on Greatest Hits Radio from 7pm.

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