Take me, Johnny, I'm yours!
When Daisy Price heard there might be a vacancy for a new presenter on the Big Breakfast, she bunked off work and raced to the show's London studios. But would she get the job?
Friday 30 July 1999
My usual early morning feelings of gloom, in anticipation of another dull day at the office, begin to slide and my mind switches to Big Breakfast presenter fantasy mode. "Take me, Johnny, I'm yours!" I see Johnny introducing his new co-presenter, Daisy. Johnny and Daisy interviewing celebrities. Johnny and Daisy talking to viewers. Johnny and Daisy sharing jokes together. Johnny and Daisy looking longingly into each others eyes. Johnny and Daisy on a Caribbean island basking in the sun. Johnny and Daisy... The possibilities are endless.
I decide it is my duty, as an obsessive Johnny worshipper, loyal Big Breakfast watcher and, of course, undiscovered superstar, to offer my services to Planet 24. Surely, at this moment, they must be frantically trying to fill the vacancy, and will be immensely grateful that I have decided to join them. I'm sure I could compete with Kelly's pouting looks. I could certainly rival her low-cut tops and, as an added bonus, I'm sure I could remember which camera to look in to and even the guests' names. I can't sing or dance, I have no TV experience at all, but then Kelly didn't have much, so I think I'll get along just fine.
Anyway, I've done all the preparation I need, with a bit of pulling in and pushing out in the right places, a pair of high heels and lots of lipstick. I am carrying a lovely pink Barbie balloon with the words "hire me" written on it.
My destination is the Big Breakfast studio, at Old Ford Lock in Bow, east London. Mickey the cab driver seems to think my career move from secretary to superstar is a good idea. He says I look "fantastic" (it's amazing what effect a push-up bra has on a man) and he suggests that when I get the job, I should "bump-off"Johnny and request him as a suitable replacement. He is willing to phone Channel Four to say that he'd definitely watch me every morning, and is so sure of my prospects that he offers to meet me later with a bottle of champagne to celebrate. I leave the taxi feeling confident. If I don't get a new job, at least I have a new date (Mickey gives me his number). He's a bit podgy and acne-scarred, but maybe in the right light, or after a few drinks, he might start to look more like Johnny.
Finding the studio proves tricky - particularly as Mickey drops me about two miles away from the Big Breakfast HQ (the five-inch heels don't help). I hobble down a towpath and ask directions from some nearby fishermen. I'm told the famous house is too far to walk in "those things", and that I should hitch a lift on a passing barge. I decide that seasickness could spoil my borrowed silk skirt, so I wobble on. I am nearly run over by cyclist Darren, a carpenter, who points me in the right direction (the other way) and asks if I am willing to sleep my way on to the show. He is 34 and has eight children, by assorted women, and I get the feeling he's tried this one before.
I knew I should have worn my Nike trainers, because by the time I teeter my way up to the house, I find it empty. It's 3pm and it's taken me all day to get here. All this way and all this effort - and no Johnny. I am devastated.
I hang around the white fence which surrounds the most famous TV house in Britain, and attract the attention of Paul, a security guard. He is sitting in the garden shed. Surely he is the next best thing to the executive producer. He says that he can't confirm the vacancy, and doesn't really have the powers to make decisions on recruitment anyway. I ask if he thinks I'm in with a chance. He asks me if I've ever been in front of a camera or presented a live show.
"Oh yes", I lie, and mutter something about a walk-on part in The Bill. "Well in that case, I'd hire you." I ask if I can have a quick practice on the set while no one is looking. He thinks this is more than his job's worth, even if I just stay in the garden. He suggests I phone Planet 24, and explains: "People don't usually just turn up: generally speaking, presenters are approached."
The woman who answers the telephone is quite stroppy. "I don't believe there is a vacancy." Perhaps she sees me as a rival. I persist: "But who would I need to speak to if there was?"
"Well there isn't a vacancy."
"But if there was?" Pause. "Well, you could send your showreel to the Executive Producer, Ed Forsdick."
I hang up. No time for showreels and poncing around with camcorders. I didn't turn up for work today and have probably been sacked, I need a job now. I must find my soon-to-be-boss, Mr Forsdick.
I jump in a cab and head towards his office in Docklands. I carefully reapply my lipstick - I think this could call for two coats - and I even brush my hair.
Getting in doesn't seem to be a problem. I stroll past the security desk and take the lift to the second floor. Pink heart-shaped balloons must be standard accessories at Planet 24, because I am able to walk freely into the office. The walls are covered with huge posters of gorgeous Johnny.
I am let in to the office by a scruffy runner from the show. I say "I'm here about the job" and ask for Ed Forsdick. He looks bemused. I say: "Well, Kelly's gone, hasn't she?"
"We can't say either way," he replies but directs me to an office to wait.
I am offered two glasses of water and asked what channel I want to watch on TV while he goes to find Ed. The two switchboard operators and the electrician, who is mending something in the ceiling, are really friendly and obviously recognise my star potential. I start to put my feet up, and run through my requirements in my mind: health-club membership, pension plan, open-top car, luncheon vouchers...
Five minutes later, the runner is back. Ed is out of the office all day and there is no one else around. Sorry.
He gives me the phone number of their PR company. It's the number for the stroppy lady that I called earlier.
"But can't I just talk to you", I beg. "I know I'll be just perfect for the job, please, please... I've made my own balloon... please." I'm starting to lose it. Things are looking bleak. Should I try the old crying trick, or attach myself to a desk with my Barbie balloon?
Instead, I ask to use the toilet, in the hope that if I hide there long enough, I'll be able to find someone to talk to. The runner sees straight through this cunning plan, and suggests I use the visitors' toilet on the ground floor. Foiled.
Looks like I might have stick to the day job (that's if they'll have me back). Unless, dear Johnny, you can find it in your heart to give me a chance? I'd travel to the ends of the earth for you (well, at least the Docklands). I can pronounce "satirical" while standing on my head, giggling inanely and looking into Camera One.
And if you ever fancy a Caribbean holiday, I'm a dab hand with the Ambre Solaire.
The Wit and Wisdom of Kelly Brook
Johnny: "What is the number of Australians who surf regularly?" Kelly: "The number? What, how many?"
Kelly meets Elisabeth Hoff, the young woman who tried to row solo across the Atlantic. Kelly: "Why didn't you take someone with you?"
Elisabeth: "Because it was a solo row."
Johnny: "What is the average amount of lottery grant awarded to Manchester?" Kelly: "What, money-wise?"
When asked how she got the job, she replied: "Well, there are two obvious things..."
Kelly: "Personally I'd like to wear more skimpy things, but now I have to wear cardigans... The bosses don't like me `hanging out' in the mornings."
In February, she told a reporter: "Channel 4 have told me, `If you're crap we'll sack you'."
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
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