My Mentor: Greg Burns on Jonathan Ross

'It would have been awful if he had turned round and said "that was crap"'

I watched Jonathan Ross on television from the age of 11 or 12. There was nobody like him on BBC1 at the time. I wouldn't have been aware of the American chat show influences that he drew from, such as David Letterman and Jay Leno, but I was intrigued by him. He was so different, and the forerunner for the Channel 4 revolution that came later.

The first time I spoke to him was when I interviewed him on the phone for one of my first radio shows at a tiny station in Wales. The interview was great fun but I remember thinking afterwards about his position at the epicentre of London media, which all seemed so far away and unobtainable at the time.

In 2000 I started working as the warm-up for They Think It's All Over and I remember the first time I saw him in the staff canteen. When you work in TV you get used to seeing recognisable people around the canteen a lot and you can become a bit blasé, but there was Jonathan Ross, this huge recognisable figure, in one of his loud garish suits with driving gloves on and no shoes or socks. It was suitably odd and extravagant for the first time I saw him in real life.

Watching him recording the They Think It's All Over shows was an amazing opportunity for me. He exudes star quality and has the right calmness and presence of mind. When he's performing he is always switched on. I'm not saying that I've managed to absorb all of that, but I have enjoyed trying to learn from it.

Since then I have had a tiny cameo in The Office Christmas special. There was a screening for it and Jonathan Ross was there.

I talked to him about my part before we went in and it turned out he was sitting right in front of me, next to Ricky Gervais. I was worried my part had been cut but it came on and he laughed. It would have been awful if he had turned round and said to Ricky: "Why did you put that in? That was crap."

Greg Burns is a stand up comic and presents the drivetime show on Capital 95.8 FM, weekdays 4-7pm.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Ashdown Group: .NET Developer : ASP.NET , C# , MVC , web development

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...

Guru Careers: 3D Package Designer / 3D Designer

£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...

Guru Careers: Interior Designer

£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss