My Mentor: Mark Durden-Smith on Judith Chalmers
'She still gives me advice. in fact, i get a nightly debriefing from both my parents'
Monday 14 January 2008
As we don't share the same name, not everyone knows that Jude the Dude is my mother. I remember wandering around supermarkets when I was young and getting very confused when people said: "Oh look, there's Gloria Hunniford!" I really became aware of what she did when I started going on her programmes, whenever they needed a fat little child to eat lots of biscuits.
It was lucky that my mother was in the industry as she could help me get placements at local radio stations and newspapers during the holidays, and after a course in radio and television journalism I started getting jobs.
She still gives me advice – in fact, I get a nightly debrief from both my parents full of constructive criticism. Her core bits of advice are to speak more slowly and to smile more, and to always carry a pen and paper, which I try to ignore – you've got to kick back at some point. She also says to pretend you're speaking to people at home, not just to stare at the camera and pretend that's it.
Before now I've always said no to anything my mother has been associated with, but this was a chance to see what she had done for 30 years. I thought she might have been sat around on a sun lounger but it's hard work.
I've been looking back at archive footage of Wish You Were Here and they all spoke in the Queen's English: every word was perfectly enunciated. Everywhere I went I asked for her advice and she conjured up a few memories. It became such a popular brand that I think she and her colleagues worried we were might mess up their show. With some trepidation I showed her the final version of one we'd done in Ibiza and she loved it.
TV is phenomenally different today and they used to travel for between six and nine months a year, while we did each location in two days – she undoubtedly had the harder job. I wasn't sure I would like leaving my family but I got to visit lots of wonderful places. I can see how it got under her skin.
Mark Durden Smith presents 'Wish You Were Here... Now and Then' on ITV1 today at 4.30pm
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