Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sad news indeed about Simon Dee. I made contact with him when I was researching Turned Out Nice Again and I have a couple of very cordial letters from him. Sadly, I was already about a year late with the manuscript when I found him, and I never did make it to Winchester. Fortunately, I had plenty of background on his chat show years from producers and executives, and I tried to be as fair as I could. I had to note their comments that he was a bloody nightmare to work with, but I also had to make clear his importance in the history of the chat show - in UK terms, Dee and Eamonn Andrews laid the foundations - and also to give praise where it was due. On his day, he was a good interviewer - someone who listened and engaged his brain accordingly, but who also had the chutzpah to ask the apparently unaskable. Unfortunately, he seemed to believe his own publicity, and, I suspect, also suffered from bad management. As a result, he alienated the people he needed most, and in later life seemed more inclined to blame a nebulous conspiracy for his downfall, rather than his own hubris. As Bill Cotton said "There was a time when he was a very powerful force on British television and he could have gone anywhere. But he was just a bloody fool". Indeed, but his show was one where magic sometimes happened, and I make no apologies for reminding you all of this from the 21 September 1968 Dee Time:


Apres la Guerre said...

"Not So Much A Programme, More A Shower of Shit" pre-dates "Dee Time" and ran concurrently with Andrews' show. The archivists at the BBC nowadays recognise the former as being their first serious attempt at a chat show; Dee refined the format into something more slick and populist.

LF Barfe said...

I see NSMAP less as a chat show and more as a dinner party at which everyone is Ned Sherrin.