September 21, 2012 by dontbringlulubook
Sometimes things went wrong even after meticulous preparation. There was the time when one of television sports producers in London asked me to do a live report from the Southampton studio for the BBC’s national Saturday afternoon sports programme. The event was a powerboat race in the English Channel. There were two or three calls between engineers to establish that the television link between London and Southampton had been booked and was working satisfactorily. Then there were further calls involving production assistants at both ends to check on the spelling of my name because the studio director in London wanted to superimpose a name caption at the bottom of the screen immediately after the London presenter, David Coleman, handed over to me. The phone exchanges went something like this:
“So that’s O-N-I-O-N then, like the vegetable? Very unusual name…”
“Yes but it’s O-N-I-O-N-S with an S on the end…”
“OK – and is it RON or RONALD?”
“Make it Ron…”
So finally the moment came for my live report after the London presenter’s handover cue, which ran as follows:
“So over to Southampton and REX Onions…” Whereupon up came the caption at the bottom of the screen insisting that Rex was indeed my first name. My mother – watching with my father in London – was most upset at what they’d done to her son, but the Southampton staff thought it was a hoot and I had to put up with references to “Sexy Rexy” for some weeks afterwards.