Blog post


I was saddened by the death of Reg Presley. I will cherish two special memories of him. Back in 1994 I took my son, Sean, on a trip up to Andover to meet Reg. We were saddened en route to hear of the death of the lovely Roy Castle. There were also hold ups on the motorway and we arrived a little late in Andover. The hotel car park was full and so I sent Sean into the bar to tell Reg I was just parking. I came back, five minutes later, to see my son holding a pint, sat at the bar with Reg.

I finished the week with a visit to a small leaving party for Chris McDonald and Sue, who leave the Island on Wednesday for a new home in Sussex. It has been a pleasure to know Chris for so many years. He came here 48 years ago – and was such a respected policeman. I am hoping to pay them a visit in a few weeks time.

In 2011 I went back to Andover to interview Reg. This time in the lovely house he bought from royalties from Love Is All Around, which was 15 weeks at number one, for Wet Wet wet. We went into a village pub just outside the town and I told the landlady I was going to see Reg – and she told me his wife was sat near us having a meal with a girlfriend. I introduced myself and she said Reg was expecting me after lunch. I rang him up to tell him I was chatting up his wife in the bar – which made him laugh. Later I enjoyed their hospitality but got lost trying to get back into the centre of Andover to pick up my three passengers, who came for the ride. Reg was a gem of a person.

When I recently went to London to the home of Mari Wilson I asked her partner, Mal, if he would take a picture of us. She said his name was Mal. When I asked him what he did in life, I realised he was a world famous TV producer – Mal Young. I quickly tapped him up for an interview and went back on Wednesday to record this at the famous BAFTA House in Piccadilly. He was in great form. At the age of 27 Mal became a TV extra on Brookside. Later he produced the show and others like EastEnders, Dr Who, Holby City, Doctors, The Bill and Murder In Mind. Later he became the head of the BBC’s continuing drama before being headhunted for American TV. He has a fascinating story.

It was a great Wednesday. I had lunch with my daughter, Caroline, who is the costume supervisor and head-of-wardrobe on the current West End show, Midnight Tango, with Vincent and Flavia, from Strictly. Then I headed for an interview with a real star – the wonderful Petula Clark. What a perfect day!!

Later in the week I saw two shows by Island amateur theatre companies. One I liked more than the other. Also managed a couple of hours on Saturday night at Lower Hyde to watch Keith Roberts, Brian Sharpe, Doug Watson and Andy Skelton. A night of pure music nostalgia and what great musicians they are. Just before I nipped into the gig I was delighted to have watched the Saints beat Manchester City – but don’t tell Bernie Cullen, Jeff Manners or Alan Marriott. Up the South!!!