Alan Davies: My Life In Media
'I had to snog a bloke in 'Bob and Rose'. It wasn't so much kissing him as kissing him so badly'
Monday 26 September 2005
What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?
I hated school and was a pathological shoplifter so left at 16, wanting to write on the local paper. After working at a grocers I went to college to do media studies; theatre and dance modules satisfied my chronic need for attention. During university I saw Billy Connolly, Rory Bremner and Simon Bligh and decided I wanted to write comedy. TV followed.
When you were 15 years old, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?
My dad, an accountant, got The Daily Telegraph every day and bought the Standard home to get me to look at the share prices - but I turned straight to sport.
And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?
I spent most of 1981 at gigs, seeing U2, The Pretenders, The Stranglers and The Jam all in one year, but I enjoyed sitcoms such as Porridge and we became obsessed with The Young Ones. I listened to Peel a lot and to Tommy Boyd's late-night phone-ins on LBC - an open invitation to unusual, eccentric people if ever there was one.
What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?
A website with links to all the newspapers: wrx.zen. co.uk; the BBC Sport website, and TEAMtalk.com.
Do you consult any media sources during the working day?
If there's a big story, BBC News 24 switching over to the Channel 4 News at 7pm, who cover it in depth so you don't have to stay up for Paxman. The BBC Six O'Clock News is ridiculously over-earnest; it's like John Craven's Newsround.
What is the best thing about your job?
I enjoy it and can now choose when I want to work.
And the worst?
Working - particularly drama filming, because it is so tiring. But junior doctors do longer hours so I shouldn't moan. It's not coal mining - I haven't got lungs full of dust.
What's the proudest achievement in your working life?
The first stand-up video I did in 1994 was during a really good time in my life. Jonathan Creek was great - strong stories and strong support - but Bob and Rose is the best thing I've done on TV. It was quite a tricky part.
And what's your most embarrassing moment?
Also from Bob and Rose, when I snogged a bloke. We were both straight and got ourselves in a pickle about it, but it wasn't so much kissing him as kissing him so badly. He was quite forceful and kept pushing my head back out of shot.
At home, what do you tune in to?
The Sopranos, The Catherine Tate Show... If I'm filming I have to get up really early so I listen to Phill Jupitus on 6 Music.
What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?
The Sunday Times, The Observer or The Independent on Sunday. Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times makes me laugh. But you have to balance it out with A A Gill, who's a cock. I stopped buying the tabloids as life's too short. I subscribe to Private Eye and Bike.
Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire
To be in a Woody Allen film. And I would like to be chucked by Kate Moss so that she could save her career by ditching me: "It's all right Kate, I understand..."
If you didn't work in the media what would you do?
Probably become a gossip journalist - the kind of person I hate from my side of the fence, door stepping people and upsetting their families. Or maybe a sports reporter.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
I like good writers and columnists: for example, there's Martin Samuel on sport in The Times; Jeremy Clarkson; Matthew Parris - a great writer, very astute, who makes a point of not having an agenda. And Caroline Aherne is a very talented writer and brilliant performer.
1991: Wins the Time Out Award for Best Comic.
1994: Wins the Critics' Award and gets a Perrier nomination for his Edinburgh stand-up show.
1995: Nominated as best stand-up at the British Comedy Awards, and makes his first appearance on Have I Got News for You.
1997: Goes on British tour and makes first appearance in Jonathan Creek; the series wins a Bafta for Best Drama. Signs a lucrative contract with Abbey National to front its telly ads, allowing him to pay off his own mortgage.
1998: Radio 4 show, The Alan Davies Show, is nominated for a British Comedy Award. Appears in A Many Splintered Thing and wins Most Popular Actor in the National Television Awards.
2001: Stars in ITV drama Bob and Rose.
2003: Joins QI as a panellist and The Times as a football writer.
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