“You know, I was contemplating before recording the latest Dole Or No Dole, a show all about picking the right number, how numbers can mean different things at different times.
Numbers can be highly personal. Like when I need a wee, for instance, I say “I need a number one” (I also said this when Keith Chegwin, Maggie Phibin and myself released the frankly brilliant ‘I wanna be a Winner’, with the theme tune to Swap Shop on the B-side, back in 1981):
And when I need a poo, I say “I need a number two”. It’s a kind of code between me and the producer, because I don’t want the proles to have a mental image of me pooing. It might spoil the mystique I’ve been carefully building over recent years.
Numbers can also be money and money means budgets. I’m sure as a member of the great unwashed, you’re probably very used to thinking about budgets- like deciding whether you can afford to eat or heat, for instance. And although I own my own fleet of helicopters, selection of classic cars and even a hackney cab taxi (so I can use the bus lane to get to work), I still have to think about budgets.
With Noel’s House Party, for instance, we had a budget in the ballpark of £600 million per show. That’s a lot of gunge! Plus, I had to hire lots of famous people to pretend to be visiting me at home, even though it was really a studio mock-up of what I thought my house might be like if anyone ever came to one of my lavish do’s. Besides DLT.
There’d be jelly! There’d be Frank Bruno! There’d be helicopter rides! Mandatory silliness! Lots of running around! But most of all, there’d be one crazily dangerous-looking stunt contraption as the centre-piece and show finale, manned by bored and inadequately-trained runners, dressed up like they were from in the olden days for a touch of gravitas. And that’s exactly how I pitched it to the then Head of Light Entertainment. Who loved it, of course.
My primary goal, however, was to reach critical mass. With an average of 12 million viewers every week regularly tuning into my blather, my position as Britain’s Number One Madcap Prankster would be unassailable and Tony Blackburn would be forced to admit to the country what a big fat failure he had been all along. Cut to the future- which is round about now.
The budget for Deal Or No Deal is tiny by comparison to NHP: 98 quid a show! I know! Crazy!
That wouldn’t have even paid for Crinkley Bottom’s custom made nappy in the 80s (my dealbreaker insistence that the studio be dominated by a gigantic comedy arse was, incidentally just a wheeze cooked up by me and DLT- an innocent man, I must stress. Much like myself.) The massive bum did make the salient point, however, that ‘bottom’ has many different meanings. Probably as many meanings as there are actual bottoms!
I need to say at this point, on a more serious note, that I want to lay to rest the various rumours about my own bottom which have hung maliciously in the air over the years. The fact is that the ‘tail’ seen swinging from my bottom in the tracking shots of me running around was categorically NOT part of a suffocating hamster stored in my poo hole. As me old mate DLT explained away at the time, it was merely the antennae of a radio transmitter used by the Floor Manager to tell me when to stop and start running. I still laugh when I tell people this story, all these years later. And they laugh too. But only after I buy them 2 or 3 drinks each.
One final number I can reveal the meaning of: my viewing figures these days. People are fucking morons!
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