Memories

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

MEMORIES

Date: 10th July 2009

Last year I purchased a machine which will transfer my old Video Tapes onto DVD - and I've only just plucked up the courage to use it.

What Memories there are - so much I'd forgotten, so many lovely people (many sadly now dead)  Some of the Videotapes were recordings made at home and are of poor quality but the memories are worth having.

Some of the most memorable were the two Royal Variety Shows in which I was fortunate enough to take part.  In 1982, Gloria Hunniford, Esther Rantzen and I performed from 'Annie Get Your Gun' the number 'Anything you can do, I can do better ......' Now Gloria is a singer but they gave the Top C to me and I can remember to this day how nervous I was as to whether I'd manage to reach the note in front of all those hundreds of people at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.  Fortunately I did and we as a trio got a superb ovation. Then in 1985 the whole theme to the evening was the Old Musicals and I was teamed with Michael Aspel and Russell Harty to perform the Triplets Number from the show 'The Bandwagon' -the words go - 'we do everything alike, we walk alike, we talk alike and what is more we hate each other very much .......'  We were dressed in long flowing frocks with big floppy hats and had an absolute ball.

1982 was a great year for me - I also had the honour of Presenting the Eurovision Song Contest which came from the Conference Centre at Harrogate.  How very different it was from today's show.  For a start it was confined to what I think of as Europe - when did places like Russia become part of Europe!!!!!!!!!

Watching the show, I suppose it would be regarded today as quite primitive technologically.  All the performers had to hold unwieldy microphones on long cables - and you had to admire their dexterity in dancing around the cables and not tripping up. There was a real live orchestra conducted in the UK by Ronnie Hazlehurst and by a different conductor from whichever country was performing at the time.  Poor old Finland didn't score a single point - mind you the number was pretty dire. 

The outfits were very restrained by today's standards and leather gear must have been very fashionable for several of the men were in leather trousers and jackets - I particularly remember the Finnish chap in a bright red leather outfit which did nothing for him.

Terry Wogan was his own amusing inimitable self and I'd forgotten that he ticked off the Swedish commentator who referred to me as 'Lovely Jan'.

At the party afterwards I was whisked around the floor by a guitarist who breathlessly whispered in Spanish that 'His castle (home) was mine' - Funny that, never saw him again!!!

I really did feel it was a great honour to be presenting Eurovision to some 300 million viewers around the world.

So I've had a couple of days of nostalgia looking at programmes which are now twenty and in some cases thirty years old.  The programmes may not have had all the technological ghizmos which abound today, but they were good, solid, clean and enjoyable.  Some of the formats wouldn't come amiss if they were resurrected today - particularly shows like 'I've Got a Secret' - a panel show in which we had to guess what the guest did for a living.  I'm sure shows like that would not be expensive to stage and would make a welcome change from all the boring repeats and reality shows.  Actually I shouldn't say 'boring repeats' - some of the shows repeated are still some of the best around.

On my trip down Memory Lane, the only sadness was that  many of the people in the programmes are now dead but I consider myself lucky to have met, interviewed and spoken with so many of them.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.