Sunday, 15 February 2009

Poor viewing figures. Our official comment.

I was not going to post about this but with all the paper talk going on I feel it is necessary.

Richard and I are of course disappointed at the poor viewing figures released earlier this week. Our new show struggled to reach the five figure mark. Put into perspective more people watched Leicester City draw 0-0 with Oldham Athletic at the weekend than watched us interviewing Toyah Wilcox about her anal lift.

It would be easy to blame UKTV but we do not believe it is their fault that the show has not been promoted sufficiently. To be honest Richard is taking it a lot harder than I am. He believes, quite rightly I feel, that we both have a lot to offer day time TV. He still believes adamantly that our style is unique.

It is no coincidence that 'A/B' list stars such as Stephen Fry, Ronnie Corbett and Paul Daniels still want to be on our show. We maintain this is because we have a knack, developed over many years, of putting our guests at ease. I will never forget the time I interviewed a young Steve Coogan just after the release of the first series of Alan Partridge. It is difficult to believe now but he was a bundle of nerves and had it not been for Richard calming him down off screen I feel the interview would have graced TV Blunder shows for many years to come.

Steven is not the only guest to suffer from panic attacks. I do not normally divulge celebrity secrets but as Mr Gervais has been so unkind to me recently I don't mind saying that on his first TV interview with us Ricky actually soiled himself live on air. I believe you can download this on You Tube. If I say so myself we handled the situation very professionally indeed. Being aware of Ricky Gervais' discomfort, Richard directed the camera towards me and working on pure TV instinct I just started to Irish Dance.

We took a lot of criticism for cutting that interview short and we were disappointed that Ricky never supported us publically but you live and learn in this business and Richard and I have been learning our trade for some time now. Trust me, we will come back even stronger. If I can bounce back from exposing my Sugar Ray Leonard's at the National TV Awards back in 2000, I can bounce back from anything.

Thank you all so much for your support. It means so much to us.

Kind Regards,


Another silly letter in the 'Ham and High'.

They must have a new letters editor at the Hampstead and Highgate Express, it's the only possible explanation.

Since my posting of the Ian/Liam Brady letter, I have been sent this one from Jez in Golders Green...


"All my life I have always put a tick in the ‘White British’ box when asked my nationality.

Yesterday my mother informed me that my father wasn’t actually my real father and that infact she had an affair with an Italian waiter whilst on holiday in Rimini nine months before I was born.

My Dad has not got a clue about any of this and assumes I am his real son. Should I try to re-submit all the information I have given over the years or just sweep it under the carpet like I did when I found out my sister, Tracey Tontodonati, was only my half sister ?".

Luigi Smith , Hendon

The name Luigi Smith just makes this so comical, thanks Jez, if you have any more please send me them my way.

A ridiculous letter I read in the 'The Ham&High'

Sometimes you wonder if people are having a laugh when they write letters to local newspapers. I actually came across this one last week in the Hampstead and Highgate Express.

The headline was WHAT IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT ?, and the letter read,

"I have never been able to understand all the fuss that is made over Ian Brady. Anyone would think he is a monster. As far as I am concerned he is the best midfielder Arsenal have ever had"

G.Jackson, London N5.

Surely this must be a joke, you can never tell nowadays.

Restaurant Review

Richard and I went to a Polish Restaurant in Earls Court, London last night called 'The Hadjukzak'. We had gone there about 10 years ago and I must say they had made many improvements responding positively to changing tastes and advances in food hygiene.

But to be honest old habits die hard, and The Hadjukzak is not the place to eat if you are into low fat fare. Fried, fatty foods, red meat and rich desserts still dominate most menus, although, in a move towards healthy living, the restaurant has now installed a cardiac defibrillator machine in its kitchen.

However I would recommend the 'tsalusky' noodles which are similar to Italian 'gnocchi' or German 'spaetzle' except for the fact that they're hallucinogenic.

I should warn anyone that if you do go to the Hadjukzak you have to bring your own wine as they have recently had their license revoked. You should expect to either pay a 20% corkage fee or, alternatively, allow the waiter to drink 20% of the bottle.

Cyril Smith, alive and well and living in Rochdale.

As people might know I am a Liberal both politically and socially. It is a regret of mine that I have not been as active recently due to work commitments. I did however manage to get to a Party meeting this weekend organised by the Highbury and Islington Liberal group [There you go Nigel I promised I would give you a plug].

The reason I am telling you all this is that Cyril Smith was the guest speaker. If you, like me assumed that dear old Cyril had passed away years ago, you couldn't be more wrong. He apparently is more passionate about politics than ever despite approaching his 81st birthday. He might not have been as clear as he used to be, and his speech was interrupted twice by trips to the small room, but his energy and drive were apparent to us all.

Still well over 25 stone Mr Smith is a tribute to modern day medicine. With the development of Anticoagulants, Statins, Diuretics, Vasodilators, and Beta blockers, perhaps we should all relax a bit and accept a bit of weight gain as part of the aging process.

I am off now to have a Pork Pie with Richard safe in the knowledge that Cyril Smith is still alive.

The Smiths to reform ?

People are often surprised when they ask me my all time favourite band and I answer The Smiths. I suppose being born in 1948 I am supposed to say The Beatles or The Stones or even The Kinks [who are all excellent in their own unique way].

But when Morrissey and Marr started The Smiths back in 1982 I was working for Granada TV as a reporter based in Manchester, so I was very much aware of them from the start.
Lyrically there is nobody better.

"And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten-ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure - the privilege is mine"

I will not insult Smiths fans out there by naming the song but Morrissey's use of words is up there with the best poets of our time. Similarly Marr was one of the greatest guitarists I have ever heard. Richard can't stand them and comes out with the classic line, 'The Smiths are depressing' whenever they are discussed.

No group has ever divided opinion as much as The Smiths. It seems you either love them or hate them. Apart from liking The Stone Roses, Richard is essentially a Soul Man and sometimes I think he misses Morrissey's irony.

Within the entertainment industry rumours are rife that Morrissey and Marr are considering re-uniting for a one off gig, possibly Glastonbury. I hope this becomes a more permanent thing because to be honest I haven't been to an outside festival since 1985 and I am not too sure I fancy standing in a muddy field all day. But you never know, I might make an exception in this case.

Our production team is trying desperately to get Morrissey on the show. He is supposed to be on Jonathan Ross next friday and I know he is not a fan of interviews so maybe he will announce something then. Fingers crossed.

"And if you must, go to work - tomorrow
Well, if I were you I really wouldn't bother
For there are brighter sides to life
And I should know, because I've seen them
But not very often ..."

Well if the snow comes down again this weekend Stephen I might just take your advice.

A very strange Horoscope indeed.....

Like most of us I do enjoy looking at my stars for the day. I was perusing a website this evening and came across an absolutely bizarre horoscope reading for Taurus. I thought I would share it with you, it read.....

"An overwhelming desire to be alone could be the result of some shocking news. Someone has done something totally out of character, and you are not sure how to process it. There will be a murder in your immediate family this week. Have you an Uncle Derek or an Auntie Pam?. If so, on no account visit them, even if they promise to revise their wills in your favour.

On a brighter note this is a good time of the year to start dieting. With the moon in Saturn edging you ever closer to Mars this is the time to lose that unsightly fat around your midriff.

Let’s face it your partner has lost all interest in you sexually and only continues in the sham you call a marriage because they haven’t sorted out alternative accommodation yet".

I can only hope this is a Spoof as I do unfortunately have an Uncle Derek. Richard assures me there is absolutely no truth in the last paragraph..... This is one thing I do love about the internet, you can find all sorts of mad and crazy sites if you look hard enough.

So Cold......

I don't remember weather like this for many years. Possibly 1989 or 1990. I have vague recollections of being down in Brighton nursing my Uncle Alan who had early onset dementia God Bless him. I'm sure that winter was an absolute stinker as well.

On the subject of Uncle Alan, I do recall him getting ready to go out one Sunday and, due to the mild confusion, he left the coat hanger in his jacket. I remember quietly taking him to one side and informing him what he'd done. As bold as brass he turned round to me and said, "Good, I'm glad I have left the coat hanger in. Let those who believe I am a barmy old sod at least think I have broad shoulders".

He was a comic until the last and proof, if proof be necessary, that senility need not be all doom and gloom

Simply the best guest ever.

Went out at 8:00 am this morning with husband and returned 11:00 am without husband. Left Richard with his rod in his hand hoping for a bite. It has become such an obsession that I just leave him to it now. But yes you were all right, it was extremely cold, even the Fish were shivering.

But came in to the warmest news I could possibly have heard. William 'Captain James T Kirk' Shatner has confirmed for next week. If any of you saw him on Jonathan Ross this Friday you will know why I am so excited. He is one of the funniest men around. His humour is so natural and infectious, similiar to Leslie Nielsen of Naked Gun fame. I remember interviewing him back in 1999 when we were on 'This Morning' . It is a wonderful feeling to laugh so much.

What I love about men such as Shatner and Nielsen is that their humour insults nobody. That is why I am such a big fan of the late Tommy Cooper and Eric Morecambe. I must admit I find a lot of today's comedians very offensive. It takes an intelligent mind, such as say that of Stephen Fry, to make people laugh without resorting to personal assaults, and it is a trait I greatly admire.

On the subject of Stephen Fry, I am following his twittering on Very good. It is so refreshing to have a genuine celebrity on a social network website. People often ask me if I am the real Judy Finnigan and they are right to be sceptical. I was even asked what I had tattooed on my upper thigh the other day. Well David from Portsmouth the answer is nothing, but if I did it would probably be Winston Churchill doing his famous 'Victory' salute. I hope that convinces.......

Fishing ?

Richard has threatened to take me fishing this weekend at the Aldenham Country Park Reservoir near Watford. He has become obsessed ever since meeting Talk Sport's fishing expert Keith Arthur at a Charity event last month.

When Richard used to talk about 'Wobbling his Deadbaits', I used to think I was in for a good night. Nowadays he does it to catch Pike, and to be honest I have no interest in it at all. However Richard and I have always believed that the secret of a successful marriage is joining in with the each others hobbies no matter how dull you find them. I am sure he hates Table Tennis but he has always supported me and joins in whenever possible [Even going as far as to put up a table in our conservatory].

So it’s off to the Reservoir we go. I am re-reading, 'That's Another Story' Julie Walters' autobiography. Did you know she once trained as a nurse and did the fastest ever male catheterization recorded at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham in 6.5 seconds. The patient would barely have had time to grip the side of the bed. Such a multi talented woman.

Have a good weekend, hope to write again tomorrow or early next week.

Today's guest...David Van Day

I know I will regret writing this but I promised myself when I started the Facebook project that I would be as honest as I possibly could be. Today's guest is David Van Day ["I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here"].

I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to interviewing him. It is known throughout show business that David is probably the most egocentric 'celebrity' around. Our very good friend Mike Nolan [singer with Bucks Fizz] was involved in a legal dispute with David back in 2002. For obvious reasons we cannot go into detail about this. Suffice to say Mr Day managed to avoid any financial penalty by declaring himself bankrupt. [What with Henry Kelly yesterday, we promise that all of our guests next week will be financially solvent].

Ofcourse I will try to be as professional as possible but sometimes we have no control over who comes on the show. Richard does not feel as strongly about our guest as I do. He feels that David simply plays a part but I am not too sure. I genuinely believe he thinks he is God's gift to women and has the voice of a young George Michael.

You are 52 years of age, 5ft 4 in height and weigh 15 and a half stone. I'm sorry Mr Day but men with BMI's of over 35 will never float my boat.

Henry Kelly...A true delight

In 2005 Kelly left LBC Radio to 'revive his television career'. TV work has proved scarce however but when his agent rang us this Christmas to ask if he could be a guest on our show we both agreed without hesitation.

Henry is one of those loveable old Irishmen who have such a natural charm that they were born to be on TV. During his heyday in the late 80's 'Going for Gold' was must watch television. However fashions change and Kelly, by his own admission, found himself on the media scrap heap.

Things got gradually worse and in February 2004, shortly after joining LBC 97.3, Kelly declared himself bankrupt thirteen years after the British Inland Revenue had sued him for the non-payment of income tax and national insurance contributions during the 1980s.

Many of you will feel that a man earning such good money should not have been so greedy and deserved all he got. However at the time Kelly had huge financial commitments. His wife lost her job at Kings College Dental School for "Gross Incompetence and Dereliction of Duty". We are not too sure what happened but it is claimed that, as a cost cutting measure, the former Mrs Kelly did not invest in her private practice and ended up working with only basic dental equipment. However claims that for two months during the summer of 1988 Kelly's wife worked entirely with dental floss have not been substantiated.

Henry Kelly has no doubt seen better days but as you will have observed today he still has the ability to win over an audience. There are rumours that he is to host a new panel show on UKTV entitled, "Where's my Carrot Mr Saunders? If so we wish him all the best.

Mr Kelly was and is a delightful man. It is obvious that he now drinks more than is appropriate for a man in his 60's, but we believe, given the chance, he could again establish himself as a major TV star.

Alli.....The new Anti Obesity pill out in May

A £1-a-day pill that can help a woman rapidly drop a dress size could be sold over the counter within months.

The drug, called Alli, prevents the body from absorbing fat in food and helped slimmers lose an average of 10lb over six months in trials.

The undigested fat which can't be absorbed passes through the body rather than being stored, making slimmers prone to wind and diarrhoea. Consequently Richard is not too keen on me taking it, especially on days when we are recording.

But to be honest I am desperate to lose weight and excessive flatulence and poor Bowel control has not hindered Simon Cowell's career as far as I can see.

Robert Glenister

Also on tonight's show is actor Robert Glenister who hopefully will be talking about his new role in "The Ethical Man", in which he plays Oscar, a Housing Officer at Haringey Council who single handedly turns around the fortunes of the residents in the deprived London Borough.

It is a little known fact that Richard and Robert were best pals back in the late 1980's. For a brief period of time they were part of the 'Madchester' scene and whenever Robert comes round to our house The Happy Monday's are always played full blast.

We had wanted to to get Shaun Ryder on the same show but to be honest he is not the safest of guests. The last time we attempted to have him on he arrived in such a state that an ambulance had to be called. Luckily actress Lesley Joseph was able to fill in at short notice. Unfortunately she had been our guest three weeks before but to be honest nobody seemed to notice.

There is an expression amongst Daytime TV presenters, "doing a Joseph". It means being available for anything at anytime..... As in, 'After I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Christopher Biggins was 'doing a Joseph'. It is meant as a term of endearment.

Anne Diamond

The good news is that Anne Diamond has agreed to be on our show this week. The bad news is her agent has told us that we are not allowed to mention her weight or her adjustable gastric banding surgery.

We are at a loss about what questions to ask as Anne has become defined by her struggle to lose weight and considering her new publication is entitled "Winning the Fat War", it will be difficult to give her book the obligatory plug.

I am hoping my husband will work his charm and that she will be more open in her approach to the interview. A little known fact is that Richard and Anne have a history, all be it a brief one, but he has always known which buttons to press with Ms Diamond so we will wait and see. Tune in tonight to see if he has been successful. If we manage to get Anne to talk about her weight you know Richard has worked his magic yet again.

Are there any questions anyone here would like to ask Anne Diamond?

My favourite ever joke ?

A few people have asked, 'Judy, what is your favourite ever joke?'.

Well to be honest there have been many over the years. Everything Tommy Cooper ever said had me in hysterics. But our son told us a joke the other day and we laughed and laughed. It went something like this.

"There are three balloons.Mummy, Daddy and Baby balloon. Over the early years Baby balloon has slept in the same bed as Mummy and Daddy balloon. Daddy balloon takes Baby balloon aside one day and tells him that he's made him a new bed and that he is to sleep there from now one.

During the night Baby balloon is scared sleeping on his own and so sneaks back into bed with Mummy and Daddy balloon. Baby balloon tries to squeeze inbetween the two of them but can't get enough room. He reaches over and let's a little air out of Mummy balloon, but to no avail he still doesn't have room. He then reaches over to Daddy balloon and lets a little air out of him. Still he can't quite fit in. Finally he lets a lot of air out off himself. He fits in nicely and falls asleep.

In the morning when Mummy and Daddy awaken they find Baby balloon in bed with them. Daddy balloon looks sad and shakes his head at Baby balloon and says.

"Son I told you to sleep in your own bed didn't I ?"
" Yes Daddy I'm sorry"
" Well son , you have let me down, you have let your mother down but most of all you have let yourself down"

What I like is that it is clean and inoffensive and very very funny, much like Richard, God bless him.

An apology

I do apologize for viewers tuning in to our show this evening hoping to see me playing Suzanne Shaw at Table Tennis as I claimed earlier on this site. However when she arrived her agent said that it would not necessarily be good for her image to be seen playing Ping Pong ( and possibly losing heavily ) to a woman twice her age.

Even though I promised to go easy Suzanne could not be talked around. As you may have noticed I was a few minutes late coming onto the set and Richard, as ever, held the fort admirably. T shirt, shorts and Adidas pumps would not have been appropriate clothing for the show.

Needless to say I am bitterly disappointed.

On a brighter note negotiations to get Robert Mugabe on next month are, I am told, "at an advanced stage". It would be a real coup if we managed to get him on the show. It would certainly improve our ratings which I now must admit are quite disappointing.

McGee cancels

I feel it is only fair to warn our viewers that Debbie McGee has pulled out of next week's show due to the 'artistic differences' she has with our executive producer Amanda Ross.

However Paul has promised not to cancel so I will not have to return the chair thank heavens.

This is the third time Mrs Daniels has cancelled at short notice. I have a feeling she has never really forgiven Richard for playfully tweaking her nipples at the Channel 4 Xmas party back in 2002. If so we both apologize unreservably ( as I did at the time ) but surely it is time to move on Debbie.


I think everyone who saw today's show will agree that actor John Challis aka 'Boycie' in Only Fools and Horses, was absolutely brilliant. He was a dream to interview. Such a great talent.

We knew before the show that John was a noted wit and raconteur who for much of his recent career has been a fixture on television talk shows and lecture circuits. What we didn't know is that he is a respected intellectual and diplomat who, in addition to his various academic posts, has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef and has been President of the World Federalist Movement.

What we loved about him was his ability to talk about such a wide range of subjects. His defense of Guantanamo Bay was controversial but both Richard and I had to admire his honesty (*).

A modern day Peter Ustinov but without the morbid obesity.

Viewing Figures

A lot has been said about the poor viewing figures for our new show. But Richard and I are not at all disappointed. We realised it would take time to build up a new following on UKTV. We prepared ourselves for a slow start. And to be honest we have not been able to attract the calibre of star that we had hoped.

Last week for example we had asked our producer to invite Stephen Fry on the show but unfortunately had to settle for the ever reliable but rather dull Rowland Rivron.
This however will change as we become more established in our new time slot. 27,000 viewers may not seem a lot especially compared to the 5-6 million we were attracting in our early days on This Morning but I still maintain Richard's idea to leave ITV back in 2001 was the correct one. As I told the advertising executives only last week, it is often not the quantity but the quality of the audience.

Gillian McKeith

Today's guest Gillian McKeith really is the most peculiar person I have ever met [ and let me remind you that I have interviewed Patrick Moore on more than one occasion ].
Don't get me wrong, she is not unpleasant like Ricky Gervais, just odd.

For example she has a very slight facial tick which is not usually picked up on camera. This tick appeared to be activated by Richard and I showing each other any kind of affection.

She also had difficulty talking off air and refused our invitation to join us for after show drinks. It is my guess that she was bullied at school and that she has never totally recovered emotionally. Still she was cheap and the Poo game will go with me to my grave.

It's arrived !!

Can't believe it. At last my new Stiga 5 Titanium Table Tennis Bat has arrived.
It says on the box that : "The Titanium is the ultimate selection for the advanced direct power-hitting player who concentrates primarily on pure speed, rather than spin".
It is described as a radical improvement on the Stiga 4 and that played like a dream. The best £89 I have ever spent.

Zhang Yining

My love of Table Tennis is well known. Am hoping to persuade Zhang Yining to come on the next series of Richard and Judy's new position. Richard isn't sure but I feel we should be aiming at attracting a wider audience. Any views ?.

Lazy weekend...Perfect.

Richard and I are having a long overdue night off together. He is cooking traditional middle eastern Falafel and then I am finally going to watch Mama Mia. Hopefully we might then get to play a few games of Table Tennis before bed. He has never had an answer to my loop drive and tonight will be no different.

Richard wants to go to a car boot sale in East Finchley early tomorrow morning so I'll have a lazy Sunday on my own .As long as he doesn't draw attention to himself by haggling too hard I won't care. North London is littered with tabloid journalists, you can never be too relaxed when you are out. One of the negative sides to our life I suppose.