Triple cokes all round!
'Drugs found on Blue Peter presenter'? So that's where they went, sighs Charlie Gramme
Sunday 25 October 1998
Of course, not everyone at the BBC is taking drugs. You have to know where to go. It's not as if they're all hoovering up the charlie over at Call My Bluff, and if you get stuck working on The Countryside Hour or Today's The Day you can forget it. But Documentaries have some pretty good grass in just now, or so I hear, and last week I went on a serious coke binge with the sparks from Religious Programmes. Now those guys are mental.
What's the problem? I'm young, I'm single and I'm working on a very short- term contract, so why shouldn't I spend every weekend, including Mondays and Thursdays, completely out of it? I just don't see what difference it makes, provided you do it on your own time, in your own home, or at lunch, and it doesn't affect your work. Actually, I don't think it matters if it affects your work, either, as long as no one notices. So my segment on barometers for The Weather Show was a little weak. Who cares? If your work is shoddy or unprofessional, it's usually easy enough to convince people that it's all down to incompetence, and I haven't noticed any big crackdown on that lately.
All right, I'll admit there have been some close calls in the past. There was that time on Auntie's Bloomers when Wogan's PA told me that Terry wanted some lines cut right away, and without thinking I sent a bike round to Puffy's house to pick up a package. Of course it turned out Terry only wanted to lose some lame joke about Michael Aspel's hair from his intro, and in the middle of the meeting this messenger walks in holding a big envelope with "WELL URGENT" and "DO NOT SNEEZE" written all over in gold pen. I was like, thanks a bunch, Puffy. It just sat there on the desk for an hour, with Wogan going on and on about the pun being the lowest form of humour. Doing blow with the Tel-Meister? What was I on?
I thought things will get stricter around White City after all the uncoolness over whatsisname from Blue Peter, but I haven't really noticed any big changes. Of course drug use is a sackable offence, at least I'm fairly sure it is, but it's hardly the only one, or even the worst one. I wouldn't even say it's one of the top three, which are, in my experience, downloading porn, stealing mugs and calling Esther Rantzen a cow. I still feel bad about saying it, but emotions were running high, and I was off my face. It was nearly the end of my career, until a chap I used to sniff glue with at St Paul's got me the Songs of Praise gig. There's a lesson there for the Blue Peter guy: you always get a second chance. Next time, just try to be a bit more cool.
To be honest, all the publicity over cocaine at the Beeb is a bit misleading. It's still about, of course, but it's nothing like it used to be. The real good stuff has moved up to Broadcasting House with the suits, and the new Radio people all seem a bit old for that sort of thing. People still talk about cocaine, but nobody ever seems to have any on them. Last week after a leaving party I was in a back office with some of those make- up people, chopping out a few rails on those big 2s, and she was telling me that digital TV is the future as far as drugs are concerned. I considered sending my CV over to Sky, but I'm nearly 24 years old, and I certainly don't want to work in television for the rest of my life. I was thinking about becoming a DJ, or maybe getting into journalism. Now those guys know how to party
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