Entertainment 80th birthday 3 web

Published on June 30th, 2014 | by Martin Aston


Radio Times 80th birthday party

80th birthday webIn  2009, I  conducted all the interviews for Radio Times’  “Covers” party, including Kiefer Sutherland. Stephen Fry, David Tennant, Keely Hawes, John Simm and Rob Brydon.

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RT COVERS PARTY 09 / interviews / Martin Aston


Kiefer Sutherland

What are you doing next?

We’re going to take advantage of the fact our schedule has been rearranged by virtue of the writer’s strike and some of the Fox programming issues. We’ve got an opportunity to get ahead of the script department, so we can get about ten scripts ready before we start working in April, so we’re really focussed on that right now, getting the scripts ready for season eight. It’s the first time we’ve completed all 24 episodes before we’ve aired one, so it’s one of those rare times where we can say, it’s going to be a great series because we actually know.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

I’m not as au fait as I probably should be of a lot of British television. There are opportunities to see programmes, but we don’t have time to watch, once we start working on 14-15 hour a day schedule, 10 months a year… unless it’s on Sunday night, I have a hard time watching stuff. But what I did enjoy was obviously getting a sense of the community here, which is really palpable, it’s something very nice to see because it had a more human quality than I’m used to seeing back home. It was very cool to just hang out in that room for a bit.

Seen Life on Mars or Ashes To Ashes yet?

No, but I know of its unbelievable success. That’s one of the DVDs I have to get.

Having an RT cover…

We’ve been off the air for so long, almost two years, so to be able to have that kind of support was great. We love the show very much and we’re very proud of it, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t get people to watch it. You have an unbelievable clientele of readers and so it was a fantastic opportunity to reach out and try and get them back

A golden age for US drama?

We’ve watched television go through so many dramatic changes in the last ten years. You can chart back to NYPD Blue and ER really changing American drama, they started to look like films, started having deeper subjects, television really took over from the films I loved watching when I grew up, films like Ordinary People and Terms of Endearment; they just don’t get made anymore. So when I see things like The Wire coming out of the US, and The Sopranos obviously had such a huge impact, and to be as fortunate as I have to be part of 24 – all these different shows are pushing the envelope, production-wise but more importantly, topically.

Auspicious day! Sad to miss Obama’s inauguration speech?

The celebration has been going on since he was elected, and I know I’ll see the speech over and over for the next three weeks. What I am really excited about – and I know it’s going to be a while – but I know this next year will really change the history of certainly the United States, and how the US affects other countries around the world. We’re in a very exciting time, and you can feel that.

You said you hoped 24’s scripts would be fantasy rather than mirroring reality

24 was born out of the imagination of Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, it was first written almost eight months prior to the terrible events of 9/11, I long for the day when 24 is again just a fantastical idea coming out of a writer’s imagination as opposed to something that is horrifically predicting certain things that have happened around the word

Thanks Kiefer.

Cheers mate! My pleasure.


Gary Lineker

Did you know the new Doctor, Matt Smith, was on the books of Leicester City, where you first made your mark?

Yes, I did. I heard he got a bad injury when he was young. He was quite a promising player, I hear.

Shame he’s had to take a less interesting job

Oh well, some things are meant to be.

Comment for Matt?

Yes, good luck. It’s nice to see someone from Leicester finally doing something good. If he can do anything from his Tardis to make sure we can get promoted this season, then that would be appreciated.

What are you up to next?

More of the same. You know, the Saturday job [on Match of the Day]. I’ve got the Masters [golf] coming up in April and the [British] Open. So busy, but obviously we’ve lost a bit of our live football on the BBC

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

I’ve just met Kiefer Sutherland, and me and my son are the biggest fans of 24 in the world, so I can’t wait to tell my son that I’ve just met Jack Bauer and shook his hand.

Having an RT cover…

Well, I have been on the cover before and it would be nice to be on it again but – pointing to Euro 08 illustration – they decided to put some random football and lots of flags on it. They could have superimposed my head on there, and a couple of big ears. But obviously I don’t look good enough anymore, which is a bit disappointing. Maybe I’m getting too old. But you can’t win ‘em all.


Stephen Fry

What are you up to next?

I’ve just got back from Sydney this morning, I’ve just been in New Zealand, where I’ve been filming part of the second series of Last Chance to See, which is based on a book that Douglas Adams wrote in 1990 about six endangered species, so we’re following in his footsteps with the co-author of the book, naturalist Mark Carwardine, to see what the state of play is now. I’ve always found such programmes interesting, but I’m not doing that in place of acting. I’m off to do a film on Saturday in Luxemburg, called The House of Boys

What’s that about?

About an hour and a half long. Then I’m going to America where I’m doing another episode of a series called Bones, I guested on that about a year or so ago, then to Mexico and Indonesia for the fifth and sixth of the Last Chance to See series, then I come back and we do 16 QI programmes, then it’s Kingdom again, and then it’s October.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

The sweet boys who play Arthur and Merlin I hadn’t met, who were very nice. And I hadn’t met Sharon Small, who is charming and awfully good. But otherwise it was mostly old friends

Having an RT cover…

I think this is my fourth or fifth. It’s always delightful. That’s why so many people have turned up tonight. People grew up with it as a child. I think if I was an American actor, I might feel different. Someone must have told Kiefer Sutherland it was considered a great honour. But if you’re British, you know what it means. It’s a bit like having a statue erected of yourself, you feel very deeply honoured.

Which cover stands out?

Obviously the first one you were on is the one that pleases you most, which for a radio production of ?? But please excuse me, if I don’t go home I’m going to fall over.


Jemima Rooper

Having an RT cover…

My first, I was terribly excited. When it was printed that I was doing a play at the National with my lovely leading lady came up to me and said ‘ooh, you’re going to be invited to the Radio Times party’, which was the first I’d heard about this legendary event. It’s something that’s tapped into your consciousness from a really young age, so totally thrilling and nice, and makes the family proud

What are you up to next?

I’m doing some plays at the Tricycle Theatre [in Kilburn, London), there is a huge project about Afghanistan, it’s 12 very amazing writers who have each written one play, and each night there will be three of them. I’m definitely in three, possibly four, doing little bits. One is a Mancunian wife, one is a journalist and one is an Afghan princess [laughs). I’m versatile!

Aren’t you also going to be in a film, Hotel Caledonia?

Well, that’s a myth. It’s something that’s been on the table for a very long time and it’s not actually happening. They haven’t got the money. I was down to play the sidekick of Chris Marshall’s character

Could there be a sequel to Lost in Austen?

There are talks about it. There’s been a lot of lobbying on the internet from people who want more. The original script opened it up at the end, and while we were making it, ITV then wanted to keep it a contained story, but there is scope for more. I’d totally love to do it.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

I wanted to meet Dawn French but apparently she’s already left. She’s my hero. I grew up watching French and Saunders, they’re amazing. I wanted to write to them for them to do a pisstake of Hex which was this sci-fi show I was in, and for Dawn to play my character, who was a lesbian ghost who ate lots of pork scratchings!


David Tennant

What are you up to next?

My final stint for Doctor Who. It starts tomorrow morning, which is why I’ve got to leave now. I’m driving to Cardiff! It’s very exciting. Strange, a bit weird, but very exciting. I’m really excited about the scripts, and to see everyone again. I’ll miss it desperately, but I’m also excited because it’s nice to move on. I spoke to Matt Smith this morning, for the first time, which was very exciting too!

What did you say?

Oh I can’t possibly tell you that!

There must be a sense of a baton being passed

I hope so, yes. I hope I can pass the baton without dropping it.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

It’s always lovely to meet people I’ve met before. Stephen Fry’s here, and I’m a big fan of Jemima Rooper, so it was great to meet her. Some of our old gang are here, like Freema. And I met Barry Norman! He’s a bit of a living legend! I just wish I could hang around a bit longer but the motorway awaits, unfortunately.

Having an RT cover – or rather, being on the cover of what Rob Brydon calls The David Tennant Weekly…

Yes, it is a bit embarrassing. But I’m definitely on telly less next year, so likelihood is, I won’t be on the cover. Well, maybe we can sneak on a couple of times. But I won’t be going home with quite so many frames.

Did you like Rob Brydon’s comment about you putting your back out because you were lifting all the copies of Radio Times with you oh the cover?

He doubted the voracity of my surgery! I’ll show him the scar later.


James May

What are you up to next?

I’m doing a documentary on the moon… though I’m not going to the moon

And you’re on the cover of RT as a Rocket Man.

Well, I am going some of the way to the moon. But I can’t say more than that. It’s one very small step, let’s put it that way. I’m doing it in two weeks time so I’m quite excited. I start my training, zero gravity, excessive g… oxygen starvation.

How long will you go up for?

Just a few hours. But you have to be very well protected because if it goes wrong, then you die in something like three seconds. But the risk is very small.

First non-astronaut up there?

I’m not sure, but I might be. I’ve certainly never heard of anyone in the world of TV or radio who’s been as high as that.

Back on earth; how was it being on the cover of RT?

Slightly embarrassing, to be honest. The problem was, on the day it came out, I wanted to look at it, not because I was on the cover, but I wanted to read the bit inside. And the bit I had written, so I had to go into the shop and pick it up myself, and go to the counter. Of coursed the bar code is on the front, and the newsagent realised and said ‘oh, that’s you, isn’t it?’ and I said, ‘yeah, sorry it is’. I never imagined it would happen, not when I was 15. That I’d be on the cover of Radio Times in stupid hair and jet pack. Radio Times is one of unassailable cornerstones of society; in a nuclear winter, Radio Times will still be on sale. When I saw it, I thought, ‘ooh, bloody hell, when my mum sees that she’ll be very pleased’.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

I was very pleased that Stephen Fry said hello to me. I admire him greatly. I said hello to David Tennant, Rob Brydon, and Dean Andrews of Life on Mars – I was at school with him! Same year as me. But I qas quite nerdy, and he was sporty. We didn’t do stuff together because we moved in different…arenas of endeavour. That sounds really pretentious, doesn’t it? He was physical, mine was nerdy. Quite by chance, I ran into him on a train about three years ago, about the time Life on mars had started.

Life on Mars, you off to the moon.. another connection.

I hadn’t thought of that.


Dean Andrews

Having an RT cover…

The highlight of my career. Really was. Because of its traditional background, I felt accepted, having only been an actor for seven years. For a boy from Barnsley to get on there was great. Happy days

What are you up to next?

We’re just finishing the next series of Ashes to Ashes, which will take up the next couple of months, and then I’m hoping for a big break, and then hopefully another series of Ashes to Ashes. That’s an exclusive!

Heard the rumour about John Simm returning?

I have heard it [laughs]. It was nice to see him again; I’ve not seen him for a couple of years. Since he left us in the lurch! I tried to talk him into coming back in to the finale of Ashes to Ashes but he said no. But it would be lovely if he changed his mind.

Who else have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

It was lovely to meet James May, and Gary Lineker. I was at school with James from the age of 11 till 16. I don’t really know anybody else.

James said he was the nerd, you were the sporty one.

I would say I was the sporty one, he was the brainy one. He’s got the talent, I’ve got the… I don’t know what I’ve got, actually.

Dean did sport but James, you did metalwork, is that right?

James: you did some woodwork, though

Dean: I was shit at woodwork but I was great at sport; I should have been a sportsman and not an actor. I could play any sport – football, I had trials for Great Britain as a gymnast.


Gregg Wallace

What are you up to next?

Lots of Masterchefs, which makes me very happy.

Other TV stuff interests you?

Well, Masterchef’s the main project, but I did a Money Programme for the BBC, on the rise of discount supermarkets, which they liked, so I think they want to talk to me about doing some more. But with three Masterchef series a year – normal Masterchef, Masterchef Professional and Celebrity Masterchef, it’s really hard to do other stuff. And I still run my fruit and veg company. And can I tell you of something of which I’m really proud – I just got my Level 2 rugby coaching badge.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

I really love Stephen Fry – I got to meet him once because he was on Masterchef when we hosted an event, and as I walked out, he said, ‘hi, nice to see you again, very well done! Such a charming man. And there are quite a few pretty girls here today. Patsy Kensit looks just as good as she did 20 years ago. This is very, very cool. If it happens again, I’m going to bring my mum.

Having an RT cover…

It’s very nice, isn’t it? Lovely. I must be famous. I must confess we were really drunk when we did that photo shoot! But all good fun. It’s a shame that John [Torode] couldn’t have been here tonight, it would be nice to have me and him on the stage and another photo, because we’re big muckers [friends], John and I. I’m going to his restaurant now for dinner.


Andrew Davies

What are you up to next?

I’m embarking on an eight-hour dramatisation of The Pallisers by Anthony Trollope, a 19th century novel about sex and politics. It will be a challenge, just technically, but I’m sure I will be able to overcome it.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

I didn’t meet anyone I haven’t met before, but I know David Tennant, Rob Brydon, lovely guys.


Colin Morgan

Having an RT cover…

Yes, one of those things that’s really legendary, you always see your favourite stars on the front, and to be a part of that legacy is unbelievable. It’s still quite strange, but I’m very honoured. My parents bought several copies so when I got back, they had them there.

What are you up to next?

I’m doing an independent film called Sea Change, up in Scotland. It’s really a three- hander with Natalie Press and Janet McTeer. It’s about a girl who goes in search of her mother on a secluded island off the west coast of Scotland, who wants to know why her mother abandoned her as a baby. She discovers she has a brother – me – who is a bit odd and has a bit of a weird view of the world. It’s quite a dark, sinister world, very different from Merlin. A very welcome change. But we start Merlin again at the end of February. I can’t wait. And then we embark on another nine months of Merlin. I absolutely love it and we have a blast.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

I really wanted to meet Kiefer Sutherland! But it would have been a bit embarrassing as well because I’m not good at that sort of thing. I got to meet Stephen Fry who I think is amazing, just brilliant. I’ve worked with David Tennant on Doctor Who before so it would good to meet up with him again. There are lots of great people here


Freema Agyeman

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

Well, it’s funny because I knew a few people would be here. I hadn’t seen David for a while. I went to see him on stage just before his back gave up, was supposed to go round and meet him but were so many fans outside.. So I’ve been speaking to him and people who are associated with Doctor Who, and with Law and Order people. And the Little Dorrit lot. That’s really naughty. I haven’t cast the net wide. But I get terribly starstruck

But then you have been on cover of RT

It was an absolute pleasure until it was highlighted that we weren’t watching the president’s inauguration! But this is such a great event. And I was really excited about the cover. Dr Who was such an interesting show, and once you’re part of the family, it’s forever

Are you in any of the specials coming up this year?

I don’t know, is the answer. Liz Sladen, 30 years between appearances! So once you’re in the family, that’s it. You never quite know when you’ll pop up again. And Little Dorrit – I was really chuffed we got a Radio Times cover. But there were so many of us in the cast, it got fragmented. But I did meet Judy Parfitt officially tonight! I didn’t have any scenes with her.

What are you up to next?

Law and Order UK. We started that in August and we finish in March. It’s been really different for me – we’ve done so much research, it’s really academic, actually. And the character I play is lot more sober and contained than Martha Jones was. You’re got the two halves – the police and the law. It’s myself and Ben Daniels in the latter part. I am absolutely mesmerised by Ben, and a little bit in love with him, and I can admit that, even though my boyfriend is standing right there! He is the most tremendous actor. He’d make a great Doctor, actually! I keep getting really lucky with my lead men. David [Tennant] is unbelievable too. I don’t know what I’m doing after that, there are a few things knocking around

A Survivors sequel!

Unless I’m resurrected from the dead… which isn’t impossible in sci-fi! I was so chuffed to be part of that series too.


John Simm

Having an RT cover…

It’s becoming a life’s work now. I need to keep collecting them. If I’m not on the cover of the Radio Times, I’ll think my career’s gone down the swannee.

How many times?

Oh, loads! Obviously not as many as…him.

David Tennant or Philip Glenister?

I tell you what, tot up mine and Glenister and I think I might have won! I had a very good year last year. But just the one cover this year


Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

Keeley Hawes. No, I know her. I always go to pieces when I meet Stephen Fry. I babble and I talk nonsense,. I try to be funny and I get so nervous. I got it with Ron Wood who I met earlier at the South Bank awards. I’ve been in the same room as Paul McCartney and I refused to meet him because I just couldn’t… Apart from Ryan Giggs [Manchester United footballer] and he was wonderful.

What are you up to next?

Nothing, mate, I’m staying at home with my kids, and I’m got a thing called Skellig coming up which I did last year, I’m the dad of the main guy. Not a showy part or anything. I want to semi-retire and just do voiceovers, I’ve had enough!


Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes (together)

How was your Life on Mars / Ashes to Ashes photo?

PG: it was lovely. It was like the family is complete. We talk about John’s character in Ashes, and his father thing

KH: It’s the only photograph of all of us together.

PG: It’s historic! TV history!

Dean says he asked John to be in the final series

PG: Really? What did he say?

KH: I’m thinking of the mortgage here; what did he say? I’d love to see John join us but he might have put it to bed.

PG: It’s his decision. We’ll hopefully do a third series and then finish it.

What are you up to next?

KH: We’ve got to finish this series first. Then sleeping. Hopefully more Mutual Friends. But Ashes is so full on that the idea of doing anything immediately…

PG: I’m going to finish Ashes, have a little break, a few things knocking around, but nothing signed.

More Demons?

PG: I don’t know. Never say never. I was only contracted for one series so we’ll see. I want to give Ashes my full attention and then take stock

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

KH: I live next door to Rob Brydon, so I see him often.

PG: Please give Rob a Radio Times cover. They’re neighbours, and they have the barbeque season, and they meet up, and it’s not fair.

Anyone else?

PG: It’s the same old rabble really, isn’t it?

KH: I didn’t get to meet Kiefer. I was waiting for him to ask for my presence. But I’m looking forward to seeing his picture with Philip.

PG: He didn’t have a f*cking clue who I was! He hasn’t seen the show? He’s working too hard! He should read Stephen’s King quote – he said the UK version of Life on Mars should be shown by a mainstream US channel. And then of course, we’ve just sold Ashes to BBC America so that will start there in the next few weeks


Rob Brydon

I wish I could ask you about being on the RT cover…

But sadly that avenue of pleasure remains closed off. Well, it’s what we all dream of and I live in hope? Who doesn’t dream of seeing their face on the cover of the Radio Times? If only to keep David Tennant – or Phil Glenister – off for one week.

Who have you more memorably met tonight, or still want to meet?

David tenant comes to mind, and Philip, I seem to shake hands with them a lot. I had a nice chat with Barry Norman afterwards, about Richard Burton.

The Welsh connection?

Indeed, yes. I chatted to John Simm and Tim McInnerny, who I also know

And they’ve all been on the cover of the Radio Times

Well, don’t rub it in! You’re not making this any easier.

You’ll be on it soon

We hope so. We shall see

What are you up to next?

I’d doing something for Comic Relief

A song, isn’t it?

Not officially, publically but between you and me, it is, yes, but you can’t say it yet. And I’ll be on tour again. I did a stand up tour before Christmas and that kicks off again at the end of February, which takes me up to the end of May in the West End. There’s something else I’d doing on telly that I can’t announce yet as it’s still under wraps. And then Gavin and Stacey again in June and July. Holiday in August and then my promoter wants me to put more tour dates in September and October and I have to judge if I’ve had enough by then or not. But I’m always beavering away, me.





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    JANUARY 2016
    Not a great way to file the first post of 2016.. On the morning the news of David Bowie’s death broke, I was asked to write a piece on the artist I consider to have had the most impact, for the longest time, on my life. I’ve never had to write something whilst blubbing, and shocked to the core, but this is what came out – my tribute to the Man Who Changed My World.

    SEPTEMBER 2015
    With the 40th anniversary tour of Horses in full swing, I have interviewed Patti Smith, John Cale about producing Horses, and written a guide to all Smtih's albums for for MOJO's October 2015 issue. Unrelated to Horses, a 'How to Buy' guide to Cocteau Twins and interviews with rising Northern Irish singer-songwriter SOAK and Alice Cooper about his Hollywood Vampires project also have my name on it this month

    JUNE 2015
    On June 1st, Little Brown imprint Constable emailed a press release to the UK book trade:

    Andreas Campomar, publishing director at Constable (Little, Brown), has signed up Martin Aston for his book on the queer pioneers of popular music and how they helped change the world. Campomar bought World Rights from Matthew Hamilton at Aitken Alexander Associates. "HOW MUSIC CAME OUT" will be published in autumn 2016. See the News page for full details.

    JUNE 2015
    I have written a label profile on, yes, 4AD, based on my book, but also an 'Essential Guide' to Kate Bush for the website - www.thevinylfactory.com. Next up is a Flying Nun label profile.

    MAY 2015
    Timed with the release of Red House Painters' box set (beautiful design, Chris), I have written an extended feature about the band's 4AD eraand about how they ended up there (via a demo that I happened to give the label...). The piece is up on 4AD's website now, under 'Sleevenotes'

    SEPT 2015
    In the October (no. 251) issue of MOJO, I've covered four Kate Bush songs for the Greatest 50 Songs feature, and interviewed singer-songwriter Adam Cohen on the Greek island of Hydra where his dad Leonard bought a house in 1960.

    SEPT 2014
    END OF THE ROAD 2014
    I reviewed the End Of The Road festival for MOJO, where improv-leaning Brit-folk genius David Thomas Broughton (ably backed by the Juice Vocal Ensemble) is the shock Saturday night highlight that few people see as they're mostly winding down from The Flaming Lips' main-stage spectacular...

    JUNE 2014
    I interviewed Jimmy Somerville for Attitude's July 2014 issue, on the 30th anniversary of Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy," one of the most striking, important and moving singles in all of British pop.

    The paperback edition of Facing The Other Way: The Story Of 4AD is published by HarperCollins imprint The Friday Project on July 17th in the UK (£12.99) and August 19th in the US ($19.99). Vaughan Oliver (v23) has revamped the artwork from the hardcover edition for this version.

    APRIL 2014
    My 3000-word 'oral history' of Jeff Buckley is part of a 17-page special in Q Magazine's June issue on the late singer, 20 years after his landmark album debut Grace.

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