This column first appeared in the Manx Advertiser.
Last week I found myself on the telephone talking to a world champion. The only problem was I didn’t realise I was talking to a world champion at the start of the conversation.
The thing is, in these days of agents and publicists, when you look up the contact details for a celebrity, you don’t expect it to be that person picking up the phone at the other end when you call.
So it was that I found myself in conversation with three times World Darts Champion Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams, but the penny did not drop straight away.
This is not my silliest celebrity moment in a journalistic career that has gone on for more than 20 years. That still remains the occasion when I covered a charity football match which saw the legendary George Best making an appearance.
Every touch brought an ‘ooh’ or an ‘aah’ from the crowd. Sadly, he did not re-emerge after half time and I found him in the clubhouse nursing a pint of blackcurrant and soda.
Up I popped with my notepad, which he very gracefully took from me and began to sign an autograph.
And, then, I stopped the greatest British footballer to have ever kicked a ball from finishing his signature and told him that instead I was after some quotes for a local newspaper. He was happy to talk but, to this day, I know that his autograph would have had a more special place in my heart.
I’ve since learned that the trick is to find someone else to get the autograph for you while you get on with doing your job.
The George Best encounter may have been the silliest, but it is not my oddest celebrity moment.
That has to be the time I was trying to interview John Clegg, best known as ‘La-de-da’ Gunner Graham from It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. He’d lost his voice, but I was ‘assisted’ by a former Dr Who – Colin Baker – who decided he would look into Clegg’s eyes after I asked each question and then answer on his behalf.
From the same job, I also found myself giving a lift to the airport for Peter Vroom – who played Lance in Home and Away – as the only way to get an interview.
It was an interesting feature on a star-studded show at the Gaiety Theatre, but it did rather lack in direct quotes.
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