Okay, this is a curiosity now, but back in ’96 I wrote this spoof documentary about a local TV journalist I invented called John E. Blagg. I was very into Dennis Potter at the time and Blagg was supposed to represent everything I thought was wrong about TV as a medium. That and the fact that I like “falling off chair” gags.
It was script-edited by my old friend and BAFTA-winning writer Dave Gorman. It gave him something to do on a Saturday morning. I don’t know how we managed to pull of the casting considering the money was so bad, but we did get Bruce Jones (later to find fame as Les Battersby in Coronation Street) and the delightful Diana Davies.
I also managed to get my mate Steve Wilson to get Paul Higham and Mark Tolle to do the John E Blagg theme music (look them up as producers on The Stone Roses “Second Coming” album).
It was broadcast as part of a real documentary series on Granada TV called “Mark Radcliffe’s NWA”. That’s why you see the brilliant Radcliffe and Clint Boon (he of the magnificent Inspiral Carpets) at the top of the show.
The character actually got born on a drug-fueled night of trying to blag into all the “In The City” (big music festival started in Manchester by the sadly missed Tony Wilson) gigs with fake laminate passes and two video cameras, manned by Paul Crompton and Krishna Stott (talented guys). We turned that night into a 10 minute film that then got shown at the Cornerhouse cinema in Manchester as part of some festival or other. That got seen by the TV bods who then got me to present an arts show on telly as the spoof character, which then led to this being made. I seem to remember having a column in the Big Issue for about 6 weeks called “From the Desk of John E Blagg”, which was full of nonsense and topped off with a picture of an empty desk. I still find that funny for some reason.
So, here is the shizzle. It’s got Manchester stamped all the way through it. I hope it tickles you a little.