What Goes Around Comes Around

I’m often asked how interviews are arranged for a radio programme. On every occasion it’s the listener and the relevance of any guest contributor that is paramount. During the 1997 General Election just about every senior politician worth their salt was courting the media as if marriage was inevitable. It was during this campaign that I interviewed the then Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine and I asked him what I thought was a logical final question. “If the conservatives lose this election will there be a leadership contest within the party?” Mr. Heseltine, as he was then, was quite adamant that his party would go on to victory, that John Major was safe as Prime Minister and therefore my ‘question was irrelevant’. Whether it was his arrogance or mere party loyalty, I’ve never forgotten the confident tone of that closing statement. History of course proved otherwise. Then there are the interviews which are thrust upon one by producers purely because this or that celebrity are ‘doing the rounds’ to promote their new book, play, pantomime or performance. For the majority broadcasters there will always be the interviews or encounters which remain highlights or lowlights. Some even become landmark moments in a career. When I think of David Frost I immediately recall his interview with President Richard Nixon. Michael Parkinson was made to feel most uncomfortable by an Emu and Muhammad Ali. The late Russel Harty had his Grace Jones moment, and who could forget the Bee Gees walking out on Clive Anderson. Then there are the opportunities that come out of nowhere which are just so different they leave one completely dumbfounded. In 1996 I’d found out that Paul McCartney’s publicist was a man called Geoff Baker so I decided to get his contact details which, I soon found out, was easier said than done. Anyway, cutting a long story short, I managed to ‘squeeze’ his number from the girl at McCartney’s offices in Soho Square. I wasted no time in calling him as I thought it may be the only way of getting just ten minutes of the former Beatle’s time for an interview. He answered the phone. I explained who I was, what I wanted and gave him as much information as possible before he said that he felt sure that Paul would be most upset if he thought that the smaller radio stations were feeling ‘ignored’ in favour of the larger national networks. I thought he might just throw the receiver down. Instead he gave me his fax number (remember them?) so I could put it all in writing.  I did and, as expected, nothing but nothing happened though I’d kept the faxes as mementos. My final contact being in 1999 when I told him, in no uncertain words, that this would be my final request. Flying forward fifteen years to last month the self same Geoff Baker was on my show as a guest speaking about his fifteen years as Paul McCartney’s publicist. Its a funny old world.

Geoff Baker with Paul McCartney

 

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