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Saturday
Oct052019

Regrets? I have one

I was reminded this morning of something that happened on the Internet TV station 18 Doughty Street twelve years ago.

For those who don’t know, 18 Doughty Street was a brave but short-lived enterprise that was possibly ahead of its time.

From 7.00pm to midnight, five days a week, the station would broadcast via the Internet a series of mostly studio-based news and discussion programmes on the issues of the day.

Iain Dale, now on LBC, was one of the main presenters, and I was invited on his programme four or five times.

It was quite informal and I remember on one occasion being asked to stay on and take part in the following programme, a review of the next day’s newspapers.

The biggest problem for me was that guests were often booked weeks in advance when it was impossible to predict the news, so you could often find yourself being asked to talk about subjects you knew nothing about. (Or was that just me?)

Iain was very good at creating a relaxed, informal atmosphere and one evening I was so chilled I read out a passage from a blog post by Dizzy Thinks that jokingly referred to the then transport minister Stephen Ladyman as ‘Stephen Ladyboy’.

Truth is, I was oblivious to the deliberate error until Iain started to corpse. At that point I realised what I had said and I too began to giggle.

For the next minute or so we both struggled to suppress our laughter. When Iain stopped, I would set him off again, and vice versa. In terms of our reaction, the only thing I can compare it to is the famous ‘leg over’ moment on Test Match Special.

Sadly the clip (which Iain and Dizzy both posted on their blogs at the time) has long been unavailable. When 18 Doughty Street closed down just about everything went offline.

It’s one of my greatest regrets because if there’s one clip I’d like friends and family to see at my funeral (or the party afterwards) it’s this.

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